How to help a child to accept his/her personality
Self-image, the idea of your own attractiveness, intelligence and strength, begins to take shape very early – at the age of four or five, the child has a general idea of who he or she is. By the age of seven or eight this image becomes more and more defined: the child gradually realizes his/her strengths and weaknesses comparing himself/herself with other children and adults.
Children’s complexes are often based not on real appearance defects, but also on the negative assessment of others. As a result, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction with herself or himself. Kids’ self-confidence is always linked to what others say about them.
Children are particularly picky about themselves and acutely experience (real or imaginary) imperfections during adolescence. That is why teenage complexes are formed more often and are much more painful than at any other age. So be attentive and try to get rid of these complexes.
Are parents responsible for children’s complexes?
Of course, a lot depends on them, first of all – the self-esteem of the child and his/her self-acceptance. The child learns who he/she is due to his/her closest people. Children develop a sense of self/worth in response to the admirable «How beautiful you are!», «How brave you are!» – short but so important phrases.
On the contrary, the lack of attention to the child, especially the coldness of parents, undermines his/her self-confidence, makes him/her vulnerable. In addition, when adults themselves suffer from complexes, they can inadvertently pass on their dissatisfaction to their children. But the older the child becomes – the more important is the opinion of his or her peers: the teenager’s ideas about himself or herself can change greatly under the influence of the assessments of friends or the youth fashion. That is why it is so important to tell children from early childhood that all people are different. We look different, think differently, and love different things. The idea of it will help you for sure to withstand the views of others at the right time, to take others’ opinions critically, and to maintain faith in yourself.
Don’t pretend that there’s no reason for his/her suffering – feeling that he/she is not understood and left alone with doubts will exaggerate the problem and a child will feel even more discomfort.
During the conversation with the child, pay attention to the fact each person has features that someone likes and someone does not, it is impossible to please everyone at once. The main thing is to help your child succeed in what he/she is passionate about and then the kid will have something to be proud of – it will help the child to realize his/her own value.
It’s very important a kid can tell an adult what’s bothering him/her. Be delicate, avoid categorical statements: «You’re really unlucky», «There’s nothing you can do about that hair!». Do not push the child and do not react aggressively to his/her statements – remember, such a reaction can make the situation only worse. Be a very good friend to your child, try to understand and avoid criticism.
When children are worried about something, they need our support first of all: they are not yet able to cope with their feelings, for example, do not know how to respond to someone who laughs at them. Tell the child that he must stand up for his/her rights and to respond to the abusers.
If you have such an experience, tell the kid about it: for example, how you felt about the shape of your nose until you found out that it does not embarrass anyone, and someone even likes it.
When a child needs the help of a psychologist?
Children’s complexes are natural and should not cause parents to panic. React if the child is constantly talking about his/her experiences, he has no mood to do anything for a long time (more than one week), he is upset, depressed, does not want to communicate with anyone.