Children nowadays are like “little adults” who have their own opinions on everything. Actually, children of this age need parents to guide and educate the most because their future personalities depend very much on how their parents act in front of them. This article will focus on developing children’s character, starting with three aspects: confidence cultivation, negative emotion handling, and prevention of violent behavior, hoping to inspire parents.
Children’s confidence building
Enhance children’s self-confidence
I believe that there are some terrific friends around you, who are good at everything, but they have no self-confidence. Two factors affect self-confidence: inherent characteristics and growth environment. In terms of inherent ones, our genetic genes will affect the brain’s operation and neurochemistry and material transfer; the second is the growth environment, including parenting, and the impact caused by teachers, elders, and friends. We cannot change the intrinsic factors, but we can still start from daily life as parents.
Praise behavior rather than the result
For things that children can do, such as packing things independently, you can nod your head to express affirmation or thank them. Avoid using general words of praise, such as “good boy.” Just point out what he did well and describe your observations, such as “You have packed your toys today. You are responsible!” “You lend to a friend. It is friendly and generous!” Let the children know the reason for being praised and emphasize praise on good character, not the result, which will help them build a good personality and feel recognized.
Exercise like training muscles
Ability is not always limited, and you can train it like muscles. Challenges and success will become opportunities for self-growth, which related neuroscience research has verified this theory. As long as through practice, the connection between neurons will gradually increase, and parents’ attitude and the way they talk to children will also affect their thinking mode. For example, when the child is discouraged, the parent can respond: “You just haven’t finished it yet. Let us try again.”
To give children a chance to build self-confidence, parents must let go sometimes. First, you can imagine with your children the concept of successfully challenging specific tasks, let them increase their confidence, and practice with them, and then formally challenge the assignment. Let them try in many ways to avoid excessive protection, especially in terms of self-care ability, and to learn how to solve problems independently. There are two types of self-confidence. One is false self-confidence, which only appears in children who have not experienced negative things; the second is the real one, which children can only gain through growth and self-affirmation after experiencing difficulties and failures.
Negative emotion management
To cultivate, not to control
Everyone has emotions, and children are no exception. Parents must first learn to understand and accept their children’s feelings, and by doing so, to teach their children how to manage and express their feelings better. Many people think that emotions depend on “controlling.” But can emotions be managed? It is challenging for us to stop the negative emotions, so it is more suitable to say that it is not so much about “controlling.” We are not trying to keep children from negative emotions, but to teach them what those emotions are and help them learn how to express them appropriately and retain the ability to restore peace.
Children can’t express emotions as adults since they cannot present themselves as adults do. They often tell it in the most direct way, including crying, beating, dropping objects, etc. Therefore, what parents need to do most is to set a bottom line for their children’s expression. Given that your bottom line is not to harm yourself and others, and damage things, if your child is over the line, you should tell your child to stop, and use other vent methods. If your child likes to drop a toy, you can say that you will not buy a new one if your child breaks the toy. You can also suggest that your child can drop the pillow instead as long as they don’t want to lose the toy. In short, it is to allow them to channel their emotions in ways within the line, rather than just to stop them.
Calm down yourself
Even as a parent, you will make the wrong words when you are emotional, making things worse. On the contrary, parents should not give too much intervention because crying is the most direct way for children to express their emotions, not to mention it is relatively calm and straightforward enough. Parents should never go back and stop their children from expressing their feelings since this will help children learn to express emotions. At the same time, if parents can successfully calm themselves down, their children can learn to calm emotions from their parents. When children are in a bad mood, parents’ primary role should be to accompany them, which by doing so, could minimize the harm to the relationship between parents and children.
Let children know that their parents understand the bad mood
In the process of crying, parents should try their best to stay calm and, at the same time, do not use too many sentences to comfort the children, only let the children understand that the parents feel their emotions. For example, a parent can say: “I understand that you can’t eat snacks and are unhappy, so it’s understandable that you cry.” The parents can help the child feel safe by telling him that you will do the housework next to him and not leave him until he finishes crying. After the child calms down, the parents can wipe away their tears and then clearly tell them what to do next—for example, packing toys together. Parents should not review their children’s situation immediately afterward to avoid another outbreak due to emotional instability. When the child is doing well, give him praise.
The raw expression
Children are young and have not yet learned how to control their emotions, and their speech and cognitive abilities are still developing. Therefore, it is common to follow their instincts by beating methods to express their dissatisfaction and attract attention, which parents need not worry too much. However, parents also need to appropriately deal with it to prevent their children from getting worse and find out the reasons to reduce the chance of such misbehavior. Teach children the correct way to express their emotions and establish a close parent-child relationship.
Emergency measures in case of violence
Children learn through repeated experience and process. Parents may not be able to teach them all at once. Therefore, parents must be psychologically prepared for children’s violence that may occur more than once or twice. When a child hits someone, the parent must immediately catch the child with both hands to stop it and firmly tell the child that it is not allowed to hit someone! Then ignore him and express dissatisfaction with him by action, letting the child understand that beating is unacceptable. If the child continues to lose his temper, parents can place him in a safe and quiet corner and let the child cry and ignore him until he stops. This process is to make him understand that beating has consequences. After he calms down, you can wipe his tears with a tissue and then ask the child to apologize to the beaten person. After a while, find time to praise some of his good behaviors.
Prevent children from beating
If there is no consequence after the child hits somebody, it is easy for them to “repeat the same mistakes.” Therefore, parents should formulate some regulations for the child to take. For example, once the child does it, he must apologize to the other party, and we should make the child feel guilty and cancel the scheduled entertainment on the day. Besides, to prevent children from beating people, parents must first understand the reasons. By analyzing the causes, behaviors, and consequences of children’s actions, we can reduce children’s inappropriate behaviors. In the analysis, the “triggers” are particularly important. Before the child starts the violent behavior, what triggers it? Knowing the “triggers” can help cut off the source of the child’s misbehavior.
Children build up their self-confidence, sense of responsibility, and ability to harness their emotions while they are growing. The process does challenge the patience of parents. But more importantly, parents should give their children appropriate room for trial and error and some time to allow their children to make the right choices. Parents should believe that in perseverance, children will gradually develop good characters and manage emotions over time. They will be strong enough for all the challenges when they grow up.