Discipline Strategies That Promote Healthy Self-Esteem
- January 04, 2021
- Lisa Goldberg
- Parenting Advice
Disciplining a child for making a poor choice doesn't mean you have to make him feel bad about himself. In fact, discipline that shames children can be quite destructive.
Healthy discipline can help your child feel bad about what he did, but it shouldn't make him feel bad for who he is.
Keep Your Expectations Appropriate
A clear understanding of child development is essential to raising a child with healthy self-esteem. If your expectations of your child are too high, you’ll experience a lot of frustration—and so will your child—when he’s not able to meet those expectations.
Recognize your child’s need for independence throughout each developmental stage. Identify the social, physical, emotional, and intellectual milestones your child is reaching. Then, you can ensure your rules and consequences are effective, age-appropriate discipline strategies.
Avoid Using Labels
It may be tempting to label your child by saying something like, “She’s my little musician,” or “He’s my math star.” Unfortunately, some parents use more negative labels, like, “She’s a klutz,” or “He’s my hyper one.” Labels do more harm than good—even when they're positive.
A child who has been labelled as a “little scientist,” may not pursue his interest in music because he thinks he’s only supposed to be passionate about science-related activities.
When kids aren’t free to explore lots of interests, activities, and pursuits, it can damage their self-worth.
Separate the Behavior From the Child
Saying things like, “You’re a bad boy!” or “You’re a naughty girl!” changes the way children perceive themselves. And if they begin to view themselves as bad, they’re more likely to misbehave.
Praise Your Child’s Efforts
Sometimes parents only praise perfection. But if you only say things like, “Great job scoring two goals today,” or “Excellent job getting all your spelling words right,” your child may think he has to excel to be worthy of kind words.
Make Discipline About Learning — Not Punishment
Trying to make a child feel bad isn’t likely to motivate him to do better. But, giving a logical consequence in a respectful manner can help him learn skills that will prevent him from repeating his mistake.
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