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I talked about the five key life-balancing pillars that can help your children feel positive, energetic and responsible. In this edition, I would talk about the three key aspects to help your child develop a strong sense of self-confidence.
While I think it is necessary for parents to expect the most out of their kids, the problem is that they often have misconceptions about their children’s abilities. Getting an accurate understanding of who your kids really are and by teaching them to develop a strong sense of self-esteem, you can help them become healthier and happier.
The first aspect of inculcating self-confidence in your child is to help them identify their dominant Multiple Intelligences and Multiple Natures. This makes it easy to identify which academic and extra-curricular activities they are more suited to instead of forcing them to do what they don’t like at all. But what is Multiple Intelligences?
Multiple Intelligences is a theory proposed by Howard Gardner, an American educator who states that there are eight types of intelligences (MIs). These include: Bodily Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, Logical Intelligence, Linguistic Intelligence, Visual Intelligence, Musical Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence and Naturalistic Intelligence.
Your child possesses all eight types of intelligences, although in varying proportions. Some intelligences will be stronger than others, which helps to explain why some children do remarkably well with learning languages, but lack the ability to work well with numbers. Or why some may be gifted athletes although their socializing skills are weak.
You can help your children increase their interest, understanding and ability to remember new topics by connecting their strong intelligences with whatever they are learning.
Multiple Natures are nine unique natures that exist within every person. Some natures are stronger and some are weaker. Multiple Natures is especially useful in understanding which careers are likely to be suitable for your children. The strengths of each nature add up to make your child’s own unique personality type. Children are born with certain qualities (called guna in Sanskrit), at the same time, environment plays a strong role in enhancing those qualities.
The concept of MIs is depicted well in the film ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Watch the film with your kids and discuss the strong and weak intelligences in the character of Ishaan.
Teach your kids to make choices. By doing so, you help them to take responsible decisions regarding their studies, their diet and their schedules—without having to be supervised constantly or reminded again and again. When they do things on their own, they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Whether it relates to schedules, clothing or entertainment, do your best to let your kids make decisions at every possible juncture. It ultimately helps them to do the things you need them to do.
In real life, it is usually the parents or teachers who call most of the shots: ‘Wake up, wear these clothes, eat this and not that, read this chapter’ and so on. This has two negative consequences. First, children fail to develop their decision-making skills. Second, when children are constantly forced to comply with others’ wishes, they become dependent on others. As they grow up, they constantly seek approval for even the smallest decisions.
Avoid giving such choices to children where they don’t really have an option and are forced to pick one. All options should be viable and attractive.
It is equally very important for your child to have good emotional connection with people around him. When children have a positive sense of themselves as well their social relationships, their capacity to succeed in life rises dramatically. Spend time with your child, praise them genuinely, treat them with respect, criticize what you don’t like but not your child and stop comparing between siblings as well as with other kids. Keep in mind that when you start the comparison game between children, you also inadvertently trigger sibling rivalry and feelings of jealousy.
Instead of comparing your children, identify and celebrate their unique abilities. It is important to make your children feel special. When they know they are unique, they develop a positive sense of self-worth that propels them to find meaning and purpose in life. I will meet you in the next edition with the third life changing principle. Till then, take good care!
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