Are the adults wrong? On the surface, the answer to this question seems simple – everyone makes mistakes. However, when asked about it, most of the children will answer almost automatically – no, they are not wrong. What it comes from? Why do children see us as infallible? How does this affect their self-esteem?
It is often difficult for adults to admit their ignorance or mistake. They fear their authority will be shaken. After all, they are supposed to be a model for a child, introduce them to a fascinating world, teach them.
What hidden information do children receive? Adults are infallible, they know and can do anything. Therefore, in their eyes, making a mistake or ignorance becomes a source of shame. No wonder then that a large proportion of younger school-age children do not take active part in lessons, do not want to express themselves in the classroom, are afraid to approach the blackboard. In most cases, this is reflected in later adult life.
Meanwhile, the attitude of adults who are important to them – parents and teachers – may cause them to perceive their mistakes as a way of learning, finding solutions, looking for information. In order for this to be possible, a child must know that every human being makes mistakes, does not know and cannot do everything.
How can we support the development of positive self-esteem in our child? Remember that the child observes and imitates our behaviour involuntarily. Let us not be ashamed to admit that we are wrong or ignorant. Let us suggest the child to jointly check the information in the sources available to us. Let’s see it as an additional way of gaining knowledge. Do not be afraid of losing authority, on the contrary – children feel good in the company of people who are honest with them and understand them. Let us encourage the child to express his or her own opinion. Let’s show what the discussion is about, what are the arguments and the culture of expression. At the same time, let us treat the child as an equal interlocutor. Let us assure them that a mistake is not a cause for ridicule.
Self-confidence and the lack of a sense of shame in case of a mistake will make our child cope with stressful situations. He will be happy and without embarrassment to correct his mistake and will be able to deal with possible unfavourable comments from his peers.
- Klaudia Sokołowska-Baryś for Marioinex Education