Self Esteem Model by Jeevan Pravaas

Building Interest in Children

Why doesn’t my child put in sufficient efforts? Why isn’t he / she consistent? How can I ensure that he/she develops a spirit of commitment and completes things properly? Why do children get distracted easily? How to get them to reduce their “screen time”?

Are any of these questions relevant to you as a parent? I have personally heard these questions from many clients ( parents) and want to share some insights that could be very useful and helpful to all. In order to put in any effort towards anything, the first ingredient is “Interest” in that activity. Unfortunately, even when a child develops interest in something, they lose it also equally fast. Most of the times, we think that this is a problem of the child. Actually, it is not true. Children lose interest in something because they do not get what they expect from it. Obviously, when you invest into something, you do expect a return on Investment (ROI), and if you do not get the expected ROI, you withdraw your investment, isnt it? It is the same with children. The only difference is that the financial investment and ROI is tangible, here it is intangible. The child is doing something and expects to be “Appreciated” genuinely for their efforts and outcomes both. My younger son gave up “drawing” class, the day he got a “C” grade and started believing that he is not all that good in drawing. This was when he was just 7-8 years old.

Unfortunately, our entire education system is too focused on “marks” and “grades” and somewhere, this steals the “fun” and “passion” of doing something that you love to do. Imagine you enjoy writing content, and then someone puts a grade against your writing, every time you write something. The external comparison is a big let-down and makes us feel lower than our counterparts, because only few will be on top, and most will be lower. Does it mean that you are not good in writing? Not at all!! As long as you enjoy the process and you keep improving on it, there is a learning curve and it is important to keep the learning curve ON. Children need to be motivated to be on the “learning curve” and not be objectively judged each time they do something. A good trainer does not give too many compliments nor too much admonishment, just the amount needed for the trainee to remain motivated to push harder next time.

Another very important aspect of “Efforts” & “Interest” is “Self Esteem“. It is critical to build the self esteem in children, for them to know that they are special and have unique abilities and can reach the stars too, as they are Unlimited. What practically happens is completely the opposite nowadays, and people confuse self esteem with self confidence. The child may show confidence in certain activities, but may be suffering from low self esteem issues, because of “comparison” with others. Every child has unique characteristics and cannot be compared on a common metric. We have to know these characteristics and learn to accept the child the way they are, and not expect them to change. As parents, we have to recognize the symptoms of Low Self-Esteem and aim to enhance it, as it is the key ingredient for showing “Interest” and putting in “Efforts“.

Summary of the above is a unique Self Esteem Enhancement Model :-

Increase in Self-Esteem + Exposure and Experience in various areas –> Interest in specific areas—> Give them Appreciation and Challenges—> They will put in More Efforts—> They will demonstrate Enhanced Performance

( Purposely, I have not added “Outcome”, because we need to appreciate the efforts and the process of learning and not just the achievements.)

So, as a parent what should we be doing? Few tips given here that may be used:-

(a) Enhance self esteem of the child by helping them to “know themselves” better. Help your child list out 10-15 keywords that describe his/her qualities. Create a strength inventory and keep it visible to be seen each day.

(b) When the child doesn’t get a top grade in something he/ she loves doing, make it a point to appreciate and celebrate the “win”. Yes, make it look as a personal achievement and make them realize that the process of growth has started. They are on the way to be the best!!

(c) When they score a top score, celebrate but do give them a challenge that makes them think one step ahead.

(d) Let the competition and comparison not steal away the “joy” and “pleasure” of simply doing something that interests them. So while they may participate in competitions, let it be just one or few in a year, and follow steps (b) and (c). They must be encouraged and appreciated in their daily activities too, let it become a part and parcel of their daily lives. It will not be too late before they become “maestros” of the activity, because it is the small atomic habits that compound to become great achievements.

(d) Increase practical exposure and experiences of the child as they grow, to develop newer interests and become more aware of their strengths in various areas. It is good to have multiple interests and talents and everyone can cultivate multiple abilities and intelligences.

The entire cycle repeats as they rediscover themselves with newly found strengths and the list of achievements never end..

Jeevan Pravaas Life Mentoring services uses psychometrics and tools to identify the unique qualities of the child and then along with parents, co-facilitates the process of building self esteem and working on the inherent strengths to generate interests and get excited about what they love doing, thereby enhancing their happiness quotient and performance in learning.

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