Attentive and discerning parents are in a privileged position to understand a child’s unique personality traits. A child’s personality traits evolve gradually and consistently over his childhood period. At the early stages, the parenting process is usually challenged by the child’s weak emotions and conceptual and logic skills. Hence, descriptions such as selfish, careless, inconsiderate, lazy, gluttonous and destructive are common at the early stages. A child’s proper and positive personality development would be truncated if parents form negative opinions on a child’s personality at the early stages.
Parents are expected to carefully study each child with the intention of providing the kind of support that will reinforce good behaviour and achieve improvement in weak areas. Expectedly, improvement would be achieved as the child matures with the right parenting support. It is unnecessary to complain about a child’s weakness with others unless this is carefully done in confidence with a skilled person and intending to assist the child. Unguarded discussions or complaints about a child’s weakness with his siblings, friends, care-givers, teachers and other relations have the following disadvantages among others:
- It is ineffective as a strategy for correcting wrong behaviour in children. On the contrary, it makes a negative trait to stick with the child for long and create a feeling of frustration.
- Teachers and other care-givers may not be favourably disposed towards assisting the child if parents have ignorantly created a negative impression of him/her. This may lead to negative perception of the child’s innocent actions. Such children may also be exposed to aggression and punishment from teachers, even when they are innocent.
- It leads to siblings’ rivalry, especially if done when the child is being corrected of wrong behaviour and compared with his siblings.
- The child may resent his parents.
- It leads to lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem if a child is consistently given such negative descriptions through name-calling.
Great parents utilise every opportunity to emphasise a child’s positive attributes in their parenting relationship as well as during communication with other people. Weaknesses and faults in children should be managed skilfully, privately and prayerfully with confidentiality in order to achieve the desired results.
-Uchenna N. Nduka