"More than anything else, teach him to WALK TALL." Khalil Gibran
One of the better gifts parents can give their children is Self-Worth, which is confidence in their God-given talents and abilities, and the desire to actualize their potential; to WALK TALL. This is a tough task. How do parents go about it?
1) Let the child be an overseen risk-taker. As long as he does not expose himself to serious danger, let him explore; e.g. go to the attic alone, if he wants to.
2) Discourage self-pity ('I am not good at painting'). Instead, remind him of the success he has in other areas.
3) Let him develop his own interest. If Music beckons him, let him go to it, as long as he does not neglect other areas essential to his growth.
4) The child will need training of skills and constructive feedback. Parents can be regular coaches to children who show promise. Honor small requests; discuss the big ones. Even when a request is turned down, he must know that he is loved.
5) Help him realize his potential. The pursuit of excellence entails goal-oriented
labor and perseverance. Such goal-setting should be adjusted to the capacity of the child. One who is less gifted cannot go after the goals set for the more gifted. In the pursuit of such goals, the child should learn to win and lose gracefully; not gloat when he wins and sulk when he loses. To help him, we could assign him tasks and evaluate his performance.
6) He must know that whining is not acceptable. Rather, encourage him to honestly express his feelings: 'I don't like the way George snatches my toys'. Then discuss those feelings.
7) Let him learn to look at the goodness in people, and not at their weakness; being less judgmental. The difference between judging and being judgmental should be explained to him. We all judge - form opinions about people, places and things; but we all could refrain from being judgmental, which is being excessively critical of others. Rough edges in his personality can be gently filed away.
8) Parents could encourage in him a sense of fairness in treating those around him, in particular, the less privileged.
9) Let him have the courage to apologize when he is wrong, and be gracious to forgive others when they are wrong.
10) Develop in him the habit of praising and thanking others, even for small acts of kindness, starting with those at home.
11) He must know that others in life are important. Selfishness in any form, destroys character and performance. One way of helping him, is to get him to share food, toys and anything that he calls 'mine'.
12) Never allow tantrums. Parents should put an immediate stop to them, if necessary, with some form of disciplining.
13) Focus on behavior: 'your lazy behavior must change' and not 'you are a lazy boy'. Reinforce good behavior; when he puts away his toys, compliment him.
14) Monitor his TV time and the programs he watches. Let TV watching not become an addiction. Also, check his reading habits, the internet he logs onto and the company he keeps.
15) Treat him like a person. Listen to him when he talks and reply him like we would a grown-up.
16) Create an enjoyable family culture. Disputes in the family and between the spouses do incalculable harm to the child. Opposing rules made by the spouses confuse the child. He will develop a polarity in favor of the more lenient parent.
17) Even if he is slow in building self-worth, hug him and reassure him often. He needs love, demonstrated.