Negative criticism and comparisons lower a child’s self-confidence

Unhealthy criticism and comparisons hinder a child's self-confidence
Parent's "Not well enough" becomes a child's cynical thought throughout life.

Shelina Fatema Binte Shahid

Confidence is one of the keys to success in life. A confident person feels constant courage, enthusiasm, joy as they are optimistic about their work and qualifications. As a result, the person never backs out from any job and ultimately becomes successful.

A person who is less confident or has no self-confidence thinks his work will not be as per the required standard, or he won’t be able to complete the task. This inexplicable thought arouses reluctance, apathy, fear, and shame in his mind. As a result, he makes mistakes or does not do the job at all, which makes his work partially successful or wholly unsuccessful.

Success at work does not always come when a person has real qualifications.

Many people cannot succeed in life due to a lack of self-confidence, even though they are very talented. Childhood is the right time to build self-esteem or being an optimist about self-worth.

The things that hinder or destroy self-confidence are-

Negative criticism in childhood:

Parents often criticizes their child very negatively when they fail to fulfill their unreasonable expectations. They rebuke the child as- “Don’t you have any brain?”, “You won’t do any good in your life!”, “What a mess you are!”, “Such an idiot!” etc. Therefore, a child receives an initial negative idea about himself from his family. No child is born being a Christian or Hindu or a Muslim. Over time, he usually starts believing the religion that his parents follow. Similarly, when a child receives negative criticism from his parents, he begins to believe that he may be less capable than other children. Even if they become successful in later life, they won’t think themselves as talented instead would give credit to their luck or hard-work. As a result, in almost every area of his life, he achieves less than he is supposed to, just because he lacks confidence.

Comparing with others:

Parents often think that comparing will make their child stubborn in pursuing their goal. So they often say, “Look how good your cousin is in his study, everyone calls him a good student. You can never do anything like that!” Such comparisons can lead to an inferiority complex rather than a tendency to do well. The child is going to be worried, “There must be something wrong with me that I can’t do like my cousin!” Even it is often seen that these children become jealous of the other child he’s been compared to, and those who praise the other child become their ‘bete noire‘. Eventually, they behave more disobediently. Thus when everyone is busy appreciating the so-called other ‘talented child’, this child starts losing his self-confidence and believes that no one likes or cares about him as he is not competent enough. And he bears this cynical thought in his mind for so long that when he becomes an adult, this belief damages his career or disrupts his marital life and relationship with his children.

Parents should refrain from harsh and negative criticism, and comparisons towards their child as a lack of self-confidence creates adversity in every area of a person’s life, not just in work or education.


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