There is a very urgent need for parents to shape their children. Self-confidence is one major area that parent need to have control over in their children, especially for children in primary school level or below. This is because such children are on a drive to try out what they can do and also on how they can be compatible with people from different groups. Parents are usually in the best position to show children how they should perceive themselves. It is of importance for people, especially parents, not to confuse a child’s self-confidence with extraversion, boldness, over-confidence, and self-assuredness. This is because a child can be quiet, reserved, and full of self-doubt but still act with poise in a particular social or learning setting. To children, self-belief is a matter of taking risks and trying out new things. Thus, children who are self-confident are more expected to use most of their potential while carrying out different activities. This is because they will tend to broaden themselves socially. Every child has a different way of expressing or viewing themselves. However, keeping a positive stance or attitude will benefit a kid as compared to a negative outlook. Many children will suffer from a low self-respect due to various reasons, thus the need to build their self-confidence to ensure they succeed in life (Berne & Savary, 1981). This paper will discuss the stages of moral development in children, self-esteem in children, causes of low self-esteem in children and how we can instill confidence in children.
According to Lawrence Kohlberg, there exist six stages of moral development in children. The obedience and punishment orientation stage refers to the stage where the kid believes that influential figure sets down standard rules and regulations that he or she must automatically heed to (Power, Higgins & Kohlberg, 1991). This stage is usually referred to thinking preconventional since the kid does not speak to members of the public. Instead, these children tend to see morals as something external to them, as the thing they are commanded to do. The individualism and exchange stage is where the children realize that they are not just commanded to do one specific thing by the authorities since different people have different opinions. Noticeably, most children in this stage as in the first stage think about punishment. However, they see it differently in stage one and two. In the first stage, punishment is fixed in the youngster’s mind with wrongness. This implies that the punishment justifies that disobeying the authorities is wrong (Munsey, 1980). In the second stage, the child perceives the punishment as a threat that he or she logically wants to evade. Individuals at this stage are still seen to reason at the preconventional level since they perceive themselves detached from the larger society. The third stage is the good interpersonal relationships stage. In this stage, the teenagers view morality as more than just a simple deal. The teenagers have a feeling that individuals should live up as expected by their friends, family, and society and have good manners (Crain, 1985). Good manners in this context imply that they should have good motives and interpersonal sentiments like reliance, love, understanding, and mindful of others. In the maintaining the social order stage, the individuals become more concerned with the general public as a whole as compared to the previous stage where he or she is concerned with close associates like family members and close friends. The focus in this stage is abiding by the laws, respecting the authorities, and carrying out the obligations as required. Also in this stage, the respondents make ethical choices from the viewpoint of the society as a whole. These perceptions exceed by far the clasp of the youngster. The social contract and individual rights stage is where the individuals start thinking about society in a very hypothetical way. They tend to step back from the individual society and starts considering the civil liberties and principles that a society need to maintain. Later, they begin assessing the present societies in terms of these past reflections. Also, individuals in this stage think that a decent society can be best visualized as a social contract in which individuals liberally operate toward the benefit of the larger community. The universal principle stage, which is the last stage, defines the standards by which individuals can attain justice.
The other issue that is addressed in the book TheConfident Child: Raising Children to Believe in Themselves by Terry Apter is self-esteem among children. The main feature of self-confidence is negativity. Negative feelings tend to saturate a child’s confidence, thus deteriorating his or her self-confidence. Children with low self-esteem will exhibit a number of symptoms. They rarely live their lives to the fullest. They will distance themselves from other children when playing, therefore denying themselves love, mental, and physical support. Such kids will not make use of the full potentials as compared to children with confidence. Also, they are not always at ease with success. They are more likely to believe that they are not entitled to success and tend to believe that they have no idea of relishing success. Children with low self-esteem also have a general disposition of lowering themselves (Apter, 1998). In most instances they perceive themselves not to be good enough and are deemed to fail. Such negative self-talk is more likely to breed into a negative self-assurance. These children will thus instill these traits of pessimism in the other children who are around them and suffer from similar setbacks. As a result, they end up with more negativity than they were before. The other symptom of low self-esteem in children is the high level of discontent (Briggs, 1988). Such children tend to spend most of their time grumbling. They don’t see anything positive in themselves nor the people they are associating with. These children also spend a considerable amount of their time worrying about their past and future. They spend very less time living their present whether it is full of success or not. Last but not the least, children with low self-esteem are more likely to have problems associating closely with other kids. They tend to be very uneasy with closeness and often impose barriers that stop other children from getting more close to them. They are also not comfortable with opening up or revealing their feeling to others. Instead, they confine themselves and live in self-denial.
Self-esteem usually affects children’s confidence in many ways. Once a child believes that he or she has no basic abilities to crack personal problems then he or she may lose hope and give up. Self-belief is very essential in children. This is because it offers individuals the poise to aim for the highest. It also overcome negative feelings and eliminates the fear of failure among youngsters. Self-belief gives children the confidence that they have nothing to fear or loose especially when it comes to asking questions in class. Also, children with self-belief are blessed with the confidence to admit failure through positive thinking. Children with a high self-esteem tend not to talk of their failure; instead, they are more interested in establishing the reasons behind their failure. Low self-esteem diminishes the self-confidence of a child. Children with a low self-esteem will be seen turning to alcohol or other forms of drugs to improve their confidence. Such a kid needs to develop self-respect and believe that he or she is better than others. The moment he realizes that he is not the only child with a weak point the better for his mental judgment.
There are several ways of boosting self-esteem in a child. A parent need to offer the child unconditional love. The child needs to be assured of love despite his strengths, abilities, and difficulties. Secondly, the parent should lay down some rules for the child. He or she should ensure the child understand that it is wrong for not doing so and so. For instance, a parent should make it clear to a child that at no circumstance should he or she go skating without a helmet. Thus, knowing that certain rules have been set for him will make him feel a bit secure and loved. Thirdly, as a parent you should allow mistakes to happen (Ramsey, 2002). A child is known to be bound to doing wrongs. Making mistakes are helpful lessons for boosting a child’s self-esteem. If a child makes a mistake in doing something, the parent should encourage him or her to try and do it differently next time to avoid repeating the mistake. For example, if the child misses his bus to school because he was searching for his misplaced schoolbag, you should encourage him to find a good place for keeping it so that next time he can locate it with ease instead of yelling at him. Fourthly, the parent need to praise the positives the child is doing. A child, like an adult, will react positively to encouragements. Thus a parent should try as much as possible to appreciate the good things that a child does. This will improve his feeling of self-worth and accomplishment. Also, as a parent, you should avoid comparing the child to another child who you consider better that him. Comparing a child to another person will promote jealousy and rivalry between the two. It also fosters shame in the child. A parent should also shun from giving even positive comparisons. This is latently harmful because the youngster can find it difficult to live up to the new image. Thus, you should only let the kid know that his unique personality is appreciated. The other way of instilling self-confidence in child is to show him or her empathy. For example, a child may be saddened by his inability to do something like another person. Like he may ask why he is not able to play basketball perfectly like his sibling. The parent should show the child sympathy by emphasizing on one of the strengths he possesses. For instance, he should console the child that even though he is not a good basketball player, he is an excellent runner.
Apter, T. (1998). The Confident Child: raising Children to Believe in Themselves. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
Berne, P. H. & Savary, L. M. (1981). Building self-esteem in children. London, UK: Continuum.
Briggs, D. (1988). Your Child’s Self Esteem. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group.
Crain, W. C. (1985). Theories of Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Munsey, B. (1980). Moral development, moral education, and Kohlberg: basic issues in philosophy, psychology, religion, and education. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.
Ramsey, R. (2002). 501 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional.
Power, F. C., Higgins, A. & Kohlberg, L. (1991). Lawrence Kohlberg’s Approach to Moral Education. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.