Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thought for the Day - Importance of Belief In Children

This is for all those parents and mentors who are highly proactive about pushing their children ahead - many times out of turn - in various areas of life. For your own child's sake - please don't. You are taking away the most important part of your own child's armoury - self belief. Without self-belief, it gets difficult for the child handle things on his or her own in the times when it counts.
You have to walk the path yourself (Pic courtesy - Satish)
Performance at a higher level is based on the child's own self belief - that he or she is equipped to handle it. By giving the child a crutch, a supporting hand, when the child is supposed to learn to get up and find his or her way and build belief, you are taking away a huge part of the child's growth. The child will start looking over the shoulder for help whenever he or she finds the going tough, and believe me, the going will get tough as the child grows higher up the ladder. So in a way, by giving a helping hand in this manner, you would have ensured that the child will never be able to perform to potential at a higher level.

For example let's take someone who is a good hockey player. The child is talented which is a good thing. But let us say he or she fails at a higher grade. The best thing to do would be to put him or her in a place where he or she trains harder and prepares harder for that grade. Few parents take that route.

But by pushing the child ahead when he or she is not fully prepared ahead of the ranks, the parent deprives the child the opportunity to introspect, to understand what it takes to go to the next level, to prepare accordingly and to build belief to perform at the higher grade the next time. Many times it also happens that the child feels completely out of sorts at being a non-entity at the higher grade - and may develop a dislike or aversion for the sport that he or she loves so much. After all sports and performance arts are about honesty and no honest sportsperson or artist would like to play under a shadow of doubt.

The higher levels are not so much about talent as about belief in oneself. It would be interesting to know how many talented sons and daughters of celebrities do not fare well in the same line as their parents. The feeling that their growth and recognition, the ease of access, is primarily due to their parents' status or stature makes many of them perform under par as they constantly feel 'judged', feel inadequate and sometimes plain give up that line. Most do something totally different to prove a point.

One understands that this form of parental love is but natural, but the truth is that no child will learn to walk or run without falling. If we insist on carrying them all the time because we are scared that they may fall, we deprive them of learning how to walk and explore the world. They will always look at you instead of growing and going ahead to meet their destiny. Let your child grow. Let them understand and prepare for the process. It will make them far better performers and far better humans for that. These are lessons best learned early.


Rajendra said...

Pushy parents are a real problem, for a child. The other part of this parenting is pushing him into things he is not even interested in.

Harimohan said...

I sometimes do believe that the people who love you the most can be the ones who affect your growth the most. It is important for people to differentiate between the effects of their 'love'. Is it making the object of your love helpless, dependent, resentful, weaker and causing negative growth or is it making the object confident, independent, stronger and effecting positive growth.

The key is the new found independence of the object - which reduces dependence on the parent and mentor. An insecure parent and mentor or partner can stifle growth because it challenges the dependence on him or her.