How to Help Your Self Conscious Child
We often assume children can’t be self-conscious because they can barely process their differences or pick up on discrimination. But that’s not entirely true. While children is in the safe space of their home, they are not exposed to the world which can often be cruel.
So, come pre-school or kindergarten age, children can often be teased or ridiculed for their clothes, or other aspects of their appearance. This can slowly chip away at their confidence, self-esteem, and make them self-conscious. Some times even gentle fun can lead your child to believe they’re being ridiculed.
It’s important to remember that their feelings are valid. Telling them to get over it, man up, or let it go, can often make them feel invalidated and even more upset. Remember that even you’ve dealt with feelings of self-consciousness in your life. It can be a tough thing to live with sometimes.
So what can you do?
Be kind, compassionate, and understanding
It’s important to be an approachable parent. When your child expresses a hint of self-consciousness to you, calmly and lovingly ask questions about why they feel a certain way. And when they tell you, let them know you understand and that it is okay to feel bad or sad.
Teach your child that it’s okay to be different
This is an important lesson to impart at an early age. No matter how much we try to conform, everyone is different. The inevitability of this truth makes it necessary to be taught this.
Expose your child to diverse environments and people of different appearances, cultures, religions, and social classes. Teach them love and acceptance of all.
Don’t push your child
If your child is having trouble with a pair of shoes or a shirt that they feel self-conscious in, it’s counterproductive to force them to wear it and go out. It will only make it worse.
This will also make them feel like they aren’t being heard by their own parent.
Don’t be self-conscious in front of your child
Children are surprisingly intuitive and can pick up on what they see around them. If they see you being self-conscious, they’ll imitate and learn from it.
Be confident about yourself and what makes you different. Don’t teach your child to be apologetic for their differences.