Self concept development is a child's armor against the challenges of the world.
Parents, more than anyone else can promote their child's self concept. It isn't a particularly difficult thing to do. If fact, most parents do it without even realizing that their words and actions have great impact on how their child feels about himself.
It is important to recognize that self-concept or self-knowledge is very much like any other kind of knowledge, for the self is a cognitive construction. Therefore, knowledge of the self will be constrained by the childs general level of cognitive development.
Self concept is multidimensional, like a house with various rooms. In many homes, rooms are added on after the initial construction. In contrast to this, the self concept development is dynamic and changes throughout development.
Generally, the childs self concept proceeds from a rather simple structure to a much more organized structure in adulthood through a process of stage like changes.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind on how to promote self concept development.
The keyword here is often. We as parents are often quick to express negative feelings to our children. Somehow we don't get around to mention the positive feelings to them.
A child doesn't instantly realize that your are feeling good about him. They need to hear it from you constantly, because they remember positive statements.
They store them up and "recall" these statements to themselves. Practice giving your child words of encouragement throughout each day.
Use what is called descriptive praise to let your child know when they are doing something well. You must of course be on the look out for situations in which your child is doing a good job or displaying a talent.
When your child completes a task or chore you could say, "I really like the way you straightened your room. You found a place for every thing and put each thing in its place."
When you observe them showing a talent you might say, "That last piece you played was great. You really have a lot of musical talent."
Don't be afraid to give praise often even in front of family or friends. They really love it.
Use praise to point out positive character traits. For instance, "You are a very kind person." Or, "I like the way you stick with things you do even when it seems hard to do." You can even praise a child for something he did not do such as "I really liked how you accepted my answer of 'no' and didn't lose your temper."
Self-talk is very important in everything we do. Psychologists have found that negative self-talk is behind depression and anxiety in later life.
What we think determines how we feel and
how we feel determines how we behave.
Therefore, it is important to teach children to be positive about how they "talk to themselves."
Some examples of useful self-talk are:
Sometimes it is necessary to criticize a child's actions, and it is appropriate that parents do so.
Just remember that when the criticism is directed to the child as a person it can easily lead to a shame feeling by the child.
It is important to learn to use "I statements" rather than "You statements" when giving criticism.
For instance say, "I would like you to keep your clothes in the proper place in your closet or drawers not lying all over your room;" rather than saying "Why are you such a lazy slob? Can't you take care of anything?"
Children make decisions all the time but they are often not even aware that they are doing so.
There are a number of ways parents can help children improve their ability to consciously make wise decisions.
All kids need to accept responsibility for their behavior. They should learn self-discipline.
To help children learn self-discipline, you as the parent need to take on the role of a teacher rather than that of disciplinarian and punisher.
Learn the "Three Fs" of Positive Parenting.
(Discipline should be Fair, Firm and Friendly).
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