DO NOT CALL YOUR CHILD STUPID!
May 25, 2000
Lajeaca has written an excellent review on the self esteem of children. After reading it, I decided to write down a few of my own thoughts.
Children usually tend to be what they think you want them to be. Mental abuse is just as heartless and cruel as physical abuse.
I have a friend who would tell her daughters: "I am tired of looking at you---just go play in the street!" You could tell by the girls reactions how these comments hurt them. I could never get her to see how she was mentally abusing them, even though she was outraged by the thought of physical abuse.
Another woman once told me (in the presence of her 12 year old daughter):
"I wouldn't let your daughter be around_____(her daughter)if I were you, _____(her daughter) has the hottest pants in town!" Guess who grew up to be promiscuous and has two welfare children? It wasn't MY daughter! This woman had four children. Only one of them turned out to be a decent, productive citizen. What a difference it would have made if she had spent her time building up her children's self esteem instead of tearing it down.
A child needs to feel loved and appreciated. He needs to know he is special and worthwhile.
If you call him names like "stupid" and "idiot" he is likely to believe he is unintelligent. If you say things like: "If you ever do that again (or if you don't do that) I am going to kick your f******* A**", all you are doing is teaching him that he is a second class citizen. I have heard people talk this way to their children and I cringe inwardly every time.
On the other hand, if you show your child you value what he does and give him praise and approval when he does well, you teach him that he is "okay". He will have the confidence to try harder to try again, if he doesn't succeed the first time.
Let your child know that he is a worthy person. His ideas have value. Encourage his creativity. Be interested in what he does. By doing this you will build a foundation of self esteem that will help him throughout his lifetime.