Recently, I received an email from Oprah’s Social Lab Work (http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Social-Lab-Work-Empowering-Children-Through-Conscious-Parenting ) where I was asked to participate in a survey regarding conscious parenting. The first question of the survey was simple, but difficult to answer: “what is your greatest challenge as a parent”. When I saw the question, I started to think about all the challenges and problems (in a next post, I will list all these) that I am facing as parent. I realize that like most parents, I don’t face one challenge, but many, too many sometimes. The question is to identify which one of these challenges is the greatest one.
Children present a variety of challenges depending on their age, temperament, developmental level, learning style and cognitive abilities among other things. As in any other relationship, parents themselves also affect the parent-child relationship. Adults can find parenting especially challenging when they are stressed at work, when they are dealing with separation or divorce, or when a child or adult in the family suffers from a mental or physical illness.
So, coming back to the question that Oprah’s people asked me, I would say that now that my son is only 4 ½ years old, the greatest challenge that I am facing is to find ways to help him develop his self-esteem.
Our son is a shy little boy who wants to please everybody. He thinks that the more toys that he shares with his friends, the more that they would like to play with him. Of course, this is not really true. Sometimes, the friends just want to play with the toys, but not necessarily with him (which is pretty normal). He has trouble sticking up for himself when another kid pushes him or takes something away from him. I was at his daycare one day when another kid pushed him, and my son did not do anything. This was not the first time that this kid pushed my son (and other kids), so I was very upset when this happened. My son, however, did not do anything to defend himself. He just ignored what the other kid and continued playing with his toy. Of course, I was very upset with the situation and immediately complained to the teachers who were just right there but had not seen anything.
I know that it’s not easy to deal with this type of situations when you are 4 years old and every kid is different. But, I just want to make certain that my son knows how to stand up for himself. As a parent, I think that is essential that we help our children to develop self-confidence and that we teach them how to stand up for themselves.
Any suggestions? What are the best ways to do this?