Comparing them to others
There is this strong temptation for parents to compare their children with one another, or with non-members of the family. The not-so-clever is compared with the clever, the shorter with the taller, the extrovert with the reserved, the slender with the plump, the C student with the A student, and so on.
What parents don’t know is that instead of motivating their child to improve, they more often than not, afflict the child with low self-esteem. These high expectations from parents make the children believe they have to be like someone else to be accepted. In extreme cases, children with low self-esteem and consequently, inferiority complex, might develop a deadly competitive spirit which could manifest as envy, spite, jealousy, and even lifelong hatred towards the preferred child.
Making fun of their physical “imperfections”
Some families have special names for different physical attributes in their children. They make fun of their heads noses, heights, weights, complexion, and so forth. Some young children have become anorexic just to escape being called “fat” continually. Some become obese to stop the demeaning nickname – skinny winky. Some bleach their skins and procure cosmetic surgeries of all kinds, sometimes fatally. These days, young girls can’t wait to turn eighteen, so they can hit the surgical table.
Living your life through them
Some parents want to right their own shortcomings through their children. They pressure them to the point of emotional exhaustion and confusion. These kids lose their individuality and creativity; some even stop dreaming. In extreme cases, some can become suicidal when it seems their perfectly laid out plans have been derailed forever, or they feel they are not good enough and can’t forgive themselves.
Always solving their problems for them
Allowing children to fix their own problems, even if they don’t get it right all the time, is a great way to develop their problem solving skills. There is nothing as motivating as knowing that one is a part of a solution to an issue. This is as true for children as it is for adults. Constantly fixing a child’s mistakes before she gets the chance to figure out what went wrong (and take responsibility for her own actions) is depriving her of an invaluable opportunity to learn, mature and develop that self confidence that will help her pull through knotty moments later in life
Denying them your presence
Not being there for your children creates an “emotional neediness” in them. They constantly crave that love and reassurance which only their parents can provide. Some of these children look for mother and father figures in other people, and could end up being abused. There’s something supernatural about parents’ kisses, hugs and encouraging words. When parents are absent, children feel grateful for every semblance of attention from anyone, even if that attention is less than desirable.
Noela is an Image Consultant and personal development trainer. She helps corporate organisations and individuals achieve high performance through her bespoke trainings, seminars and workshops. She is available to speak at your professional events. Reach her on 07030514885.