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3 ways you are sabotaging your child's self-esteem

As a parent, don't say things that will scar your child forever.

Written by Naz Haider |Published : May 2, 2017 6:04 PM IST

As a parent, one's goal is to raise a confident, positive and disciplined person, who will grow up to be a good citizen. However, many times, parents end up projecting their own prejudices on their children, which negatively affects the child's psyche. As a parent, we have opinions, hypocritical views even, but that doesn't mean we put down our child so bad that the child starts questioning themselves and their capabilities. Unknowingly, or unwittingly, a lot of parents say or do things that sabotage their child's self-esteem. Needless to say, such a behaviour is wrong, and a child should rather hear and more positive things from the parents. Here are a few things that parents should not be saying to their (or any) child:

  1. You are dark-skinned: I had never thought a parent could actually be bothered with their child's colour skin, but I recently spoke to a relative who had a baby recently and the first thing she said about the baby was 'he is very fair'. Indians are obsessed with fair skin, which is sad as it is, but when this obsession colours your view of your child, it is plain depressing. Stopping your child from playing in the sun, resorting to home remedies to lighten the skin tone, slathering sunscreen everytime she steps out, or stopping the child from wearing dark colours and shades just because she is dark skinned is wrong. Very wrong. If you can't love your child the way she is, and spend so much of your time obsessing over her skin-colour, then you need help to overcome your pettiness.
  2. You are fat: Isn't it a shame that girls as young as 6-7 years old are worrying about diet and weight gain. This whole obsession over being stick-thin, slim, fit and a specific size has gone out of proportion, so much so that parents find fault in their children's body size. Fat shaming a child is the lowest a parent can go, and how much damage it does to a child's self-esteem is unimaginable. If you think your child is 'out of shape' why not exercise, run or simply play together. As long as your child is healthy and growing at a good rate, why bother? Same applies to skinny shaming. Media pictures of chubby babies has us all fooled that being chubby equals to being cute and healthy. Just because a baby is thin or lean does not mean she is lacking in any way. Mothers obsess over feeding their lanky children, losing their cool and cursing if the child refuses to eat as much as the mothers wants them to eat. And then, of course the society's taane 'Don't your parents feed you' or 'are you sick'. Skinny shaming is just as bad as fat shaming.
  3. Why aren't you like that child: Comparing your child with other children, specifically to put your child down breaks a child's spirit. The child will constantly question herself and start believing that she is not good for anything. Every individual is different, and that applies to kids as well. Not excelling in academics, or not being sports-crazy does not make your child any less.

The only thing that should concern a parent is the health and well-being of their child. Colour, shape and size should not matter, and if it does, then you need to check your approach. Image: Shutterstock

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