Supporting children in self put-downs
1. When children say things like, “I can’t do Maths,” “I am poor at English,” “I don’t look good,” they are putting themselves down. It means they suffer from low self-esteem in that particular area of their life.
2. If you respond by reinforcing their put-downs, saying things like, “You’ve always been weak at Maths,” you’re further adding to their poor self-esteem.
3. Parents usually go into giving a long lecture at such moments. “You’ve always been weak in Maths. Where did we fail- we provided tuitions for you, purchased extra books, notebooks. We don’t even let you do household chores so you can focus on studies. Yet, you just can’t score good marks in Maths. What else can we do?” Lecturing doesn’t help.
4. Instead, use a simple one-line statement indicating positive reinforcement.
“You can improve your Maths if you put your mind to it.”
“You can figure out those sums if you work on it a little more.”
“You’ll do better on it next time if you get some help. Here, let us have a look at what’s not working.”
“You do great in Physics, English and other subjects- it’s not that you can’t do Maths. Maybe it’s just the fear of Maths that you need to get rid of.
5. A quote goes like, “Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” Never let a child resort to lower expectations of his or her abilities.
Children need to believe in themselves to do well in any area of life. Help them counteract the negativity in their head, rather than intensifying it.