Self-concept can be defined as the awareness of the child of his strengths and weaknesses, what he can do and what he cannot. A child as an infant gets its first experience of the self-concept from its primary caregivers. The warm and caring gestures of the parents will reinforce a positive emotional bond to the child.
As the child grows, the environment around the child kindles its imagination and curiosity as it ventures into the world for exploration. Parental support in answering questions, clearing doubts, and guiding him to solve problems on its own will help to bolster self-concept. The feedback a child receives from his friends and teachers also influence the child’s self-view.
Why is it important?
A healthy self-concept is directly linked to self-esteem and confidence. A child is aware that he can do what he is expected out of him. He tends to be optimistic as he believes that the efforts he puts in will result in success. As the child grows with a positive self-concept, it will learn to focus on the work to be done without worrying about what others think about him. Ultimately, it empowers the child to feel capable, experiment, and go all-out for success.
Children with good self-concept have a better ability to deal with strong emotions. And hence they can hack the challenges and frustrations when they arise. Their emotional intelligence soars up. They can empathize well with their friends and build strong bonds. It is also a strong underpin to overcome failures by self-motivating to undertake corrective actions.
How to develop?
The three main E’s which helps a parent to develop self-concept in children from a very young age are experiences, encouragement, and empowerment.
Believe in your children. Let them try out new things by experimenting. They may go wrong, they may encounter failures. Ensure that they face every difficulty with their chin up. Help them to understand where they have gone wrong, and push them to try again with equal vigor, honesty and enthusiasm. Do not solve the problems for them. Let them learn from their experiences. These experiences will teach them to make self-comparisons and they will be able to appreciate their own progress over a period of time.
Praise your children even for the smallest achievement. Though your goals for him maybe sky high, the child can see one thing at a time. Winning small battles and getting praised for it will get him armed for the wars. Encourage them to set achievable goals and to evaluate accomplishments pragmatically. During the evaluation process, teach them to be positive. Success teaches more than failures.
Give your children ample of opportunities to have their own experiences and encourage them to take it up independently. Handling any situation with minimal or without your support will reinforce their capability and better their confidence level. Let them choose their own activities they want to be engaging in, interfere only when you think they are into some trouble. Empower them to make decisions in small things and accept their decision without questions. They will feel valued and worthy enough to take up responsibility and fulfill them to completion.