Parents often reward “right action” from a child by saying, “This makes mommy (daddy) proud.” A child will clean up his toys or the little girl will make her bed, awaiting outside approval in the words “You make me proud.” The real way to teach a child self-esteem and inner connection is to say to your child or grandchild when they do good deeds, “This must make you feel good about you.”
Another challenge is that we rush children’s lives to adulthood so they can be adults for 90 percent of their lives. Because we rush the process, we are not able to let children develop naturally so they can put their whole selves in. It is ridiculous to start telling a child at four and five to “be a big boy” or “be a big girl.”What are we really saying? Be a big person like me, so you can pay bills, have a mortgage, and be responsible for the rest of your life?
Children who do not get to be children, who are forced into early adulthood, and who are rushed into growing up rarely ever grow up. They die a little, and their inner anguish usually shows up in rage, bullying, or addiction.
Let children be children!