As parents, we all have an opportunity to understand and nurture our child’s distinct behaviors. Our goal isn’t to construct a personality for the child, but more to develop his/her individuality. Parents can help along their childs self-esteem by cheering on a healthy expression of individualism. Your child will begin to crave and gain their individualism at middle childhood. As they do, their understanding of sole independance is shaped by an unsure external or internal need; the trouble is what other people want them to be interested in, and what they find ultimately interesting. Typically, people’s interests tend to get sorted out by external voices (from peer pressure, to parental demands and heavy marketing) which define what people should believe and what they should think. In our thoughts, a healthy self-esteem will depend on an equal forming between these inner and outer voices. Therefore it’s not only important for parents to help children learn but to listen to all parts of the conversation.
Distinguishing Needs from Wants:
If left alone, it’s fairly likely that many children will fall prey to media marketing and learn to deal with their individualism through aquiring status objects like , cars, cloths, games, bikes, and other materialistic possessions, more often then not, children will come to rely on materialistic possessions to make them look “cool” or welcomed by their peers, the idea that they must be valuable, “popular” people if they have expensive, desirable possessions.
This is a damaging thought, as it reinforces an idea that your children are not valuable; that their own personalities and unique qualities aren’t enough to make or to keep friends. Also, it is an impractical idea, most families simply just cannot afford to buy their children all, or most of the many things they “just need.”
Parents can fight a childs strict belief that they are not wanted by others on their own actions, by teaching them the difference between “wants” and “needs”. A “need” is something needed to maintain one’s life, such as safety, health and education. An example might be, groceries, mortgage payments, wood or heating oil , winter jackets, boots, medications, school notebooks, and pens are all needs. Although, children need shoes and notebooks, they do not really need costly shoes or school notebooks labeled by the latest sports hero or pop star. Popular shoes or boots would be an example of “wants”, where “wants” are known to be any other materialistic items that would be fun or enjoyable to have but are not needed for the family’s basic living. Most families struggle just to pay the bills , that are “needs” and don’t have money left over for the childs “wants.” Some families may have enough money for the family’s needs and some of their child’s “wants.” All families have an opportunity to lead their children to understand wants from needs and to determine what “wants” are most important, and why. For instance, one persons family might only be able to afford cheap sneakers even though your kid wants the ones endorsed by a Kobe Bryant a famous basketball player. It will most likely be a daily or weekly discussion to help children understand the difference between what they need and what they want. However, parents understanding to teach this important lesson will, in time help your child learn that the only important aspects of people are not the items they possess, but more so their character. It will also help your child to work on constructing their own character by figuring out things that are important to them, and in the process, strengthen up their own individuality.