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self esteemThere’s a problem in education which I refer to as “the remedial effect” and it can greatly impact a child’s self esteem.

“The remedial effect” is a form of mostly unintentional discrimination which occurs when schools underestimate students with various isms and automatically put them into remedial classes. This underestimation can greatly impact a child’s self esteem.

As a child, it happened to me quite regularly even though I’d protest; “I’m deaf, I’m not dumb.”

Here’s the clincher though. It’s not just a problem for school. It’s a big problem at home too.

Build Self Esteem: Champion the Potential

One of the great things about being within a school system (versus homeschooling) is that there are many more pairs of eyes watching your child.

On the one hand, all these eyes can be a problem because any of those teachers can start up a new “remedial effect”.  On the other hand, there is a good chance that your child will find appropriate champions among a larger group who will help him to achieve his potential.

Home schooling is far more likely to have an “instant champion” in the form of a parent.  However, without all those other sets of eyes, it may become too easy to reduce the hurdles of education rather than encourage our kids to try harder.

Each style of education has pros and cons which we could debate endlessly.  This article isn’t about school. It’s about having the confidence in your children to allow them to be independent – boosting their confidence and building their self esteem.

Increase Self Esteem: Allow for Independence – Learn to Let Go

As I write this, my eleven year old has just come home from a four day scout camp.  Sure, he didn’t remember to bring everything home that he took with him but he seems to have brought home most of it.

More importantly however, he clearly had a good time.  Heading off to scout camp and other activities by himself has given him a giant confidence boost.

As parents of children with various isms, one of the problems we have is that we have difficulty letting go. In the past, we’ve seen our child hurt by bullies and by their own failings.  We strive to protect them from further disappointment. In doing this, we unconsciously underestimate our children’s ability to cope and we deny them the chance to develop important life skills.

Strengthen Self Esteem: Build Confidence in Your Child

We display this lack of confidence in our children whenever we decide that they wouldn’t be capable of catching the bus to school.  We may prevent them from making their own breakfast because they might spill it.  We may not permit them to take themselves down to the park because they’d have to cross a quiet street.

To make matters worse, we cement our dissatisfaction when we remake their already made but messy beds.  We belittle our children by not letting them pour their own drinks because they might spill them.  We show lack of trust when we spy on them as they’re doing things by themselves.

Our children’s self esteem and confidence is closely linked to the confidence and trust we have in them.

Let’s not be remedial parents. It is far better to overestimate and provide support than to underestimate and encourage self-doubting behaviour.

Avoid “the remedial effect” at home and actively display confidence in your children.  In doing so, you will boost your child’s self esteem and help them to learn very important life skills.