I have good news for you. If you have been criticizing your kids, there is hope. It is not the end. However, you must have the courage to do this. Sometimes we get so frustrated with our work that we do not have the patience to talk to the kids nicely. After some time, we tend to label them as naughty or lose our temper more easily.
What should you do to undo it? Gather all your children and sit down together. Apologize by saying that I am sorry for all the things I did that made you feel less than what you are worth. I also apologize for all the things I said that has diminished your self-esteem.
By apologizing, you are taking the responsibility and burden away from your children. The slate is now clean. You show that you make mistakes and allow your children to make mistakes too. No one is perfect. All the fustration and anger in your child will be removed and he can express himself freely.
Criticisms diminishes a child’s confidence and may hinder his ability to achieve more things in life when he grows up. He may think that he cannot count as well as his friends because his parents told him once that he was “hopeless in Maths”. He could have been a fantastic accountant but did not try because of what his parents once said. Of course, criticisms affects kids in different ways but ususally their confidence is affected.
Children understand that adults are human too. Adults make mistakes too and kids want to feel accepted by adults. Kids are willing to forgive you if you are willing to admit your mistake.
Amazing things happen when parents finally have the courage to apologize to their kids. Children who have not talked to their parents for years are finally reconciled. You will be surprised how much pain you are taking away from your child. All the anger and frustration that was hidden in the child can finally be released because you, as a parent, has taken responsibility for it.
Have the courage to do it today!
To further enhance your relationship with your child, you need to let your child know that you love them. Do not assume that they know that you love them. Most Asian parents think “it is obvious” but I disagree. Why do you want to let the kids guess whether parents love them when parents can simply just tell them?
Do you attempt to tell your kids you love them at least once a day? Kids are always trying to find out if you still love them. When they get older, they use more subtle ways to find out. Even though you discipline them, make sure to differentiate the child from the behaviour. Then remind them that you still love them.
Children who grow up with love will have self-confidence even for boys. Most people think that boys will grow up being sissy if they are given too much love, but it is not true. Just ask yourself, would you like someone to tell you they love you or not? No one can ever get enough love. Therefore it is important to tell the children (even after they become teenagers) that you love them as much as possible. I try to tell my kids “I love you no matter what happens” everyday. Guess what? My younger son could say ‘no matter what happens’ at about one and a half years old.
Remember, the more trouble your kids give you, the more attention and love they want from you. You will never be able to give them too much love.