Saturday, May 21, 2016
Keeping children from feeling shame and doubt
In order to keep a child from feeling shame and doubt about doing any type of activity, parents need to teach children what they can do and how to do it, not that they can't. Parents who teach their children learned helplessness will eventually get to the point where they decide when their children are old enough to do certain tasks and activities on their own. For example, a parent will decide that age three a child is old enough to get a snack on their own and won't help them get a snack anymore. When parents decide these types of tasks for children they're usually not age appropriate and unreasonable.
When parents decide a child is old enough to do a certain task they tell the child to go do the task and often the child doesn't know how to do what's been asked because the parents have always done it for them. The child tells the parents they don't know how to do what's being asked and the parent gets mad because all of a sudden the child is old enough and smart enough to do what's being asked. Parents get angry with the child when they have no reason to get angry with them. How is the child supposed to know how to do what's asked, when the parents haven't taught them how to do what was asked?
For example, if a parent decides a child is old enough and smart enough to do the laundry and asks their child to go start a load of laundry but the parents haven't taught the child how to do the laundry, how is the child supposed to know how to do the laundry? Out of frustration the parent tells the child, "You know how to do the laundry, now go do it." So the child does the laundry and WRONG and the parent get MAD, but the parent has no reason to be mad. The parent hasn't taken the time to TEACH the child how to the laundry, yet, expects them to know how to and CORRECTLY.
When a parent expects a child to do a task like the above example and expects their children to do it without them taking the time to teach them how to do it, causes a child to feel shame and doubt. They feel shame because they did the laundry wrong and they feel doubt because they feel like because they didn't do the laundry right that they won't be able to do anything right. So parents please take the time to TEACH you're children how to do things. Don't just expect them to know how to do something because they've seen you do it or you've decided they're old enough and smart enough to know how to do something. Take the time to teach them, to build their self-confidence and the frustration both parents and children feel will lessen.