Is my child confident?
Don’t we all want our children to have a good self esteem? Of course, because we all know the discomfort of feeling insecure! Low self confidence can limit us to explore and try new things. Feeling insecure can stop us even from making mistakes and not moving on! Self esteem is very important socially as well and to choose what is right for you. But how do you help your child or student to build his or her self esteem or can you actually make children grow insecure?
A child becomes insecure, mainly because of negative experiences that haven’t been understood and handled well by the child’s carers. A child being confident on the other hand is similarly partly genetically inherited, but mostly based on positive experiences. A parent or carer can contribute in growing insecurity or confidence. So… what to do or not to do?
Islam promotes routines set by the prophet Muhammad sallahu alayhi wa sallam. The five daily prayers and how to prepare for it, but also the use of the miswak and other cleanliness routines are beneficial for overall well-being. Especially young children thrive with routines. A routine gives a child a feeling of security. Through routines they know what to expect and what is coming. Parents, carers and teachers should keep this always in mind to stick to good and positive routines even during turbulent times. It will help them as well to stay calm and positive and give them the ability to think how to manage their emotions instead of becoming overwhelmed.
Accept insecurity as part of life
Insecurity is not always unnatural. It is natural for a child to go through a period(s) of insecurity, like when he/she is going to a new school or when the family is moving to a new house. It is during those phases that a child can naturally feel a little insecure. During times of insecurity it is important for a child to have the support of an empathetic parent/carer to make this period easier. If the insecurity stays on longer than expected, it means that your child or student needs more of your time and help to tackle the insecurity issues.
Boundaries for security
Insecurity grows where children have no boundaries. Children need limits as they don’t know the consequences of many things they haven’t encountered in their lives as yet. Their knowledge and experience is limited, so they need clear guidance which in return makes them feel supported and secure. The world and everything in it will be less overwhelming and confusing if parents and teachers set clear boundaries. Of course at some point children can have their say and input, but a child is in need of clear guidance by his carers.
Luqman said: ‘O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.” Quran 31:17
Observe and focus on genuine communication
To identify that your child feels insecure, you need to observe your child/student and see how the insecurity manifests itself and when. This will give you the tools to tackle it. Signs are sleeping patterns are changing or physical complains like tummy or headache. They are more withdrawn or emotionally unstable. For example your child cries quicker or is more quickly angered and these episodes take longer time to settle too. If you have observed insecure behaviour, it is first of important to stay calm and think how to support your child or student. Even if the cause of insecurity seems to the parent or carer insignificant just step for one moment in your child shoes and accept how she or he feels.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter’ Muslim
Intervene with patience, empathy and care
When you have identified the situations that trigger the child’s insecurity, it is possible to intervene. Show your love to the child and that you are there to help. Be the calmness they need in these stressful moments and show them you love them no matter what. Believe in them, so they will also grow over the insecurity and believe again in themselves handling it well whatever it is that makes them insecure. Your patience is key
And be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” Quran 8:46
It doesn’t need to be a special occasion to show your child that you love him or her. It can be just the simple things like surprising your child with a special activity that you will do together. If your child loves stories, then read some more, just because he or she likes it so much. Share positive memories, even from your childhood and show how you also struggled at times and how you overcame the situation. Just show your affection sometimes in a very silly way like kissing/hugging him or her 20 times just to show how much love you feel. You can’t show affection enough, be generous and don’t wait for a reason, you child is the reason just by being him or her and deserves your mercy and affection.
Abu Hurairah narrated: “Al-Aqra bin Habis saw the Prophet (ﷺ) kissing Al-Hasan and Al-Husain. So he said, ‘I have ten children and I do not kiss any one of them.’ So the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Whoever shows no mercy, will be shown no mercy.” At-Tirmidhi – sahih