Moving towards the new normal and preventive confinement against COVID-19 are two issues that continue to apply. For boys and girls, these are unexpected situations that have implied drastic changes, such as taking distance classes, greeting family members through the screens, not living in open spaces with their friends, and being locked in their homes for most part of the time.
Undoubtedly, the child population has known how to adapt, but during this process, it is likely that their emotional health has been tested more than once, including the perception of their sufficiency, capacities, and aptitudes, which together form the child’s self-esteem or girl.
This is an aspect in which special care must be taken, since self-esteem is one of the pillars that support the development of the child, together with health and education, and define what they will be in the future as an adult.
“It is very important that parents are informed about how to take care of the emotional development in the child since they are the closest people to changes in the little ones,” considered Professor Ivon Guerrero Ceballos and Professor Daniela Díaz Flores, Director and Professor respectively of the School of Psychology of CETYS University Campus Mexicali.
To care for and promote good self-esteem in children, specialists recommend parents and guardians:
Validate their emotions: Help them identify what emotion they are feeling, it is important to mention its name: anger, sadness, happiness, or any other. Just as important is validating the emotion; that is, be respectful to children about what they feel. Sometimes adults invalidate the emotion with phrases or actions such as: “stop crying”, “are you crying about that?”, Ignoring him when he is angry, locking him in his room, and telling him to calm down. We must be sensitive and empathetic, accompany them in their emotions so that they understand that their parents will be with them at all times, not only when they are happy, but also in moments that can be painful for them.
Listen: Communication is one of the most important elements in a family dynamic, as it allows the expression of emotions but also to listen to what others think and feel. Listening attentively from parents to children is essential, accompanied by non-verbal language: sit down, stop what is being done for a moment, stoop if necessary, look into the child’s eyes and listen without interrupting.
Teach and accompany: Boys and girls like to feel part of a family dynamic, so they must have some responsibility at home, appropriate to their age, in which they can support. It will be important that first, using a language that he can understand, you show him how the activity is carried out and accompany him in his learning. It is not only about instilling that he is responsible within the home, but this teaches him to feel productive, which is part of his self-esteem since it implies recognizing himself as valuable in a social group.
Identify the stage of development in which your child is: To do this, it is advisable to go to a specialist who evaluates the development of the child. Although each of the children has their learning rhythm, identifying its stage will help you to know if it is in the expected age range to physical health, such as their weight, height, and motor aspects. In the cognitive area they can be identified, concerning their language, thoughts, imagination, attention, and creativity, while in the emotional area, they will indicate to you what is related to their emotions, self-concept, and self-esteem. In addition to defining your child’s developmental stage, knowing all this together will help you understand his behaviors, emotions, and the skills that he is acquiring.
Present parenting: Having a family dynamic in which each member respects, listens, supports, accepts, and loves each other, is essential for the development of healthy self-esteem in children, since it allows them to know the limits, discipline, and develop values such as tolerance, respect, and empathy.
“Some adults justify their treatment of children because of the childhood they had. It is important to understand that at that time they could not do anything because of the family dynamics in which they grew up, but they can do something for what they live in the present: inform themselves, seek family guidance, care for and ensure coexistence with clear limits and with recognition to each of the members, so that the child has the opportunity to develop healthy self-esteem,” concluded the academics.