Conquering Kids’ Self-Consciousness7 min read
Everyone goes through phases and situations in life where they feel self-conscious or extremely self-aware. This is one of the many inherent human traits that helps us to function in society and be an essential part of communities. Self-consciousness is something one develops as a child and carries with him/her throughout their journey in life. But is there a point where self-consciousness can become harmful to a person? Is it healthy to always be self-conscious to the point where you find it difficult to function? Do you as parents need to be slightly worried if your child is excessively self-conscious or self-aware? Let us take a look.
What is Self-Consciousness?
As human beings, we are constantly aware of the world around us, ourselves and our actions among many other things. Self-consciousness is something that every human being possesses to some level and it greatly affects the way we view ourselves and the world around us. It is a very strong feeling that the whole world is watching us. Self-consciousness is closely linked to self-awareness which includes being aware of various aspects of the self (behaviors, feelings, traits, etc.).
Although self-consciousness and self-awareness can be signs of healthy emotional maturity, excessive emotions of self-consciousness can be extremely unhealthy and result in an overall low self-esteem in the individual. This will negatively affect their actions, thoughts and behaviors towards others and themselves. Some common emotions associated with self-consciousness are embarrassment, pride and jealousy. However, negative self-consciousness can lead to anger, sadness, and even hopelessness.
As a parent, why should you care about self-consciousness? How can you help?
Self-consciousness is something that one develops ever since childhood and it comes and goes over the years. Your toddler may be self-conscious in pre-school when meeting new kids his age and do silly things as a result. This trait may fade away and then reappear during adolescence. Teens can feel extremely self-conscious especially if they are either early or late bloomers in their age group. Many kids in general would rather not participate in public settings for fear of being noticed, judged or ridiculed.
Hence, the role of a parent is critical. If you see your child exhibiting extreme emotions of self-consciousness you may want to take a little more interest in the matter. These are some of the emotions that can really affect your child negatively and might even last a lifetime if not dealt with at the right time in the right way. No parent wants their child to hold himself back for fear of how he will be viewed by others. Thus, helping and teaching your child to deal with emotions in a healthy manner from a young age will go a long way in shaping their self-esteem as individuals in society.
Given below are a few ideas that parents can build on in order to help their kids to conquer self-consciousness:
Normalize positive self-talk
It is fascinating how much children can pick up by just observing the adults in their lives. Therefore, as parents it is so important to model positive self-talk and show them that they don’t need to be so hard on themselves. It is necessary for them to understand that we are humans and nobody is perfect, so accidents will happen and it’s okay to make mistakes. But rather when these things happen, they need to back themselves up and assess situations in more logical and positive ways rather than demeaning themselves. Assist them in establishing more realistic and constructive messages that they can reaffirm to themselves.
Give genuine compliments
Your words as a parent affect your kids more than you can imagine. It contributes to how their view of themselves is shaped and will stay with them for a lifetime. As a parent, you should be your child’s biggest cheerleader and always compliment them when they achieve something, no matter how small that achievement may be. You can compliment your child when they go out of their comfort zone to do something good, or something that takes an act of kindness or when they take a small step of courage. Complimenting them for something that they have been working really hard on to cultivate – whether it is a hobby or a social skill – is another meaningful thing that will make all the difference.
Acknowledge them when they’re being brave
Pay attention to your kids and be mindful of when they do things that require acts of bravery from them. Although it may seem trivial to us adults, overcoming their fears and stepping out of their comfort zones is quite a big deal for children! It is one step closer to them overcoming their self-consciousness. So, when you as parents encourage them and acknowledge when they take teensy steps of courage it will really motivate them to do it more often. Constantly reminding them that the room doesn’t cave in when they make mistakes will help them to be bold and braver in the future.
Support their pursuit to follow their passion
As we mentioned before, parents should be their kids’ biggest cheerleaders. Support your child when he/she takes interest in a new hobby or activity. Constantly guide them to choose what’s right for them while also making sure that they know you’re backing them up when they want to pursue something new and different. Children will have a wide variety of interests as they continue to grow and develop but it is crucial for them to have strong support in the form of their parents to always nudge them forward.
Teach them resilience
Resilience is the ability to recoup from difficulties and spring back into shape. It is significant for children to develop elasticity as it helps their character in the long run. Resilience will teach them to stay firm and grounded despite challenging situations and healthily deal with times when things won’t go their way. One of the most rewarding times as a parent is when you see your child unwilling to back down when calamity strikes them. Resilience is another trait that parents need to model in order to assist their kids in conquering self-consciousness.
Take tiny steps in social situations and settings
Parents should be patient and understanding with their children when it comes to social situations. Encourage them to meet new people while not pressuring them into being immediately comfortable with everyone. Pushing your child to do too much too soon will only lead to them pulling back completely and it will also undo the little progress they might have made. Help them to ease into social settings at their own pace and know that it is okay for them to take their time. Reassure them that they can aim at making one or two new friends if meeting too many new people at once is overwhelming for them. Most importantly, constantly remind them that everyone around them has accidents and that they should not shy away from social situations for fear of making mistakes.
Help them prepare themselves for public interactions and performances
Your child will always face instances where they will need to engage in public speaking or make public performances. Practicing a conversation with them or helping them to learn a line or two will make them more equipped at breaking the ice in social settings. Practicing dialogues and conversations in private will help them to overcome their self-consciousness when they are in public. These are just a few of many possible ideas that parents can utilize to help their kids conquer their self-consciousness. It is important that parents remain patient and open while coaching their children to be the best versions of themselves. And always remember that every child is unique and your child’s growth and development may look slightly different to that of another, and that is totally okay!
Self-consciousness is a trait that is very well-known to human beings in general. It is something that shapes our view of ourselves and the world around us. Although self-consciousness in adequate amount is healthy for the development of an individual, excessive emotions of self-consciousness can be detrimental and have negative effects. Since this is a trait we begin to development as children, therefore parents have an important role to play.
A child’s learning process is not just limited to what his parents teach him, but it is rather an amalgamation of everything he observes and gathers from them as well. Thus, as parents you should be able to model healthy self-consciousness and help your child to deal with his/her emotions in a healthy manner. This article deals with self-consciousness, how it plays out in children and what steps parents can take in order to help their kids to conquer it. From giving genuine compliments to acknowledging their kids for small acts of bravery, parents play a much more important role in regulating their child’s self-conscious emotions than they can imagine.