You are a positive parent. You appreciate your child’s creations, talents and do not hesitate to praise them for their small successes. However, there is also a lurking feeling that all this praise and positive reinforcement is creating a vain personality.
There is nothing wrong with pride- provided your child feels it in the right measure. It gives them confidence and self-esteem. So where and how do you draw the line between arrogance and pride?
To understand the difference between the two, there is a value that you need to inculcate in your child. Humility is the grace to acknowledge praise, accomplishments and yet remain grounded in it. Your child is not too young to learn and understand this value.
Here are a few tips that could help you along the way-
- Encourage them to admit their mistakes: Admitting their mistake is the first step towards humility. Your child needs to know that a confession makes you think more of them – not less. Make them understand that they need not get defensive about it. Point out that criticism can have merits too. Do not be harsh with them when they do confess. This builds the confidence in them to come clean with you rather than cover up their mess. That you are willing to forgive them will play a big role in making them honest and humble.
- Teach them to have empathy: Teach them to be sensitive towards the needs and feelings of others. Empathy is the precursor to humility.
- Encourage satisfaction not pride: Whenever they accomplish something, encourage them to enjoy the satisfaction of a job done well rather than feel pride in their achievement. Encourage the spirit of sportsmanship. Be alert to signals when they feel superior or look down upon their peers.
- Zero tolerance for disrespectful behaviour: Tell your child that rude talk and using profane language is absolutely unacceptable. Make it clear to them that you will listen only if spoken to respectfully. Teach them to behave and speak respectfully from an early age.
- Be a role model: Your child will respond to positive coaching. Do not yell, scream or shout at them. Do not shame them and undermine their confidence. If you are an encouraging parent they will listen and learn more from you. Let them see you learning, seeking knowledge and wisdom from others. Admit that you might not know all the answers but there is no shame in asking those who do.
- Praise their efforts not results: If your child is praised only when they succeed, they start to fear failure. They also refuse to take risks and want to play safe. They build on your praise rather than on their own efforts. They only thrive on the success aided by the praise. Instead, focus on their efforts and help them improve upon it. Your child will learn to trust their efforts and will learn to garner satisfaction from the job, not the praise.
Your child is unique. You will have to figure out what works for them in terms of positive and negative reinforcement. Train them according to their needs. Your humble child will never stop seeking, learning and growing.