How can you develop self-control and self-esteem through attachment or affection?
Parenting is probably one of the world’s hardest tasks. Besides taking care of your child’s basic needs such as food, shelter and education, you also have to think about their emotional and social needs. From the time of birth, children turn to their caregivers for affection. If you’re the mother, then you’re the first person they cling to – both for food and love. Your constant companionship acts as a safety blanket for them.
Affection refers to the care parents give to their child. It is a feeling of fondness and liking. With time, even children display affection for their parents. Affection can be closely linked to the attachment. Sometimes, children may become restless or anxious when their parents aren’t around.
To understand self-control and self-esteem through attachment, it’s important to have a look at the attachment styles. There are four types of attachment styles. As kids grow up, they tend to behave a certain way towards their parents. A securely attached child uses his parents as a secure base.
For example, a kid of two years might explore his immediate surroundings independently but will also be delighted to return to his parents. They don’t get anxious when their parent is absent and trusts them to return soon. Such parents both give and receive affection from their child. A child may display affection by hugging, touching and smiling at their parent when they return.
Sometimes parents don’t take care of their child’s emotional needs. The parents often ignore the children or shun them when they display strong emotions like sadness in the form of tears. In this case, children are forced to look after themselves. These kids become too independent and rely on themselves only because their parents failed to be empathetic towards them. This is Avoidant attachment. There’s a noticeable absence of affection here. Lack of affection makes children pull away from their parents.
In case of anxious attachment, parents are inconsistent in their behaviour towards kids. On a good day, they are responsive, and otherwise, they are insensitive. Children often get confused due to the inconsistency which makes them anxious. They don’t know what treatment to expect and may cling onto their parents at times.
Some parents are abusive towards their children. In this case, their life is turned upside down as the person who is their safety net turns into a threat. To cope with this, children try to detach themselves from the situation by burying their feelings in their unconscious state. There is barely any affection between parent and child in this scenario.
DEVELOPMENT OF SELF ESTEEM
Parent-child interactions play a great role in the development of self-esteem. Children first turn to their parents for feedback. Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence one has in his or her own worth and abilities. Children with higher self-esteem think they’re capable whereas children with low self-esteem believe otherwise. They may be too critical of themselves.
One reason for this could be because they were shunned or criticized by parents. If a child hears her parents constantly criticise them and give negative feedback, he begins to doubt his own worth. If you want your child to turn into a confident individual, you should be empathetic and sensitive towards them. This doesn’t mean that they should cling to you and demand affection all the time.
Secure attachment style can help build his or her self-esteem. By showing empathy and affection, you allow your child to be confident about his abilities and worth. These children use parents as a safety net as they navigate the world. They are not overly dependent on their parents for affection or attention.
Foster an environment where they feel loved but also wish to explore the world independently. This can be done through:
• Being responsive to their emotional and social needs.
• Starting small by giving them simple tasks they can perform independently. This gives a boost to their self-esteem.
• Introducing them to kids of their age, so that they learn values like self-control and patience as they form friendships.
• Communicate with them effectively when they make mistakes so that they can work on them and correct themselves.
• If your child gets a bad grade then instead of scolding him, encourage him and help him improve. This will also make him manage his anxiety in future tests.
Self-control is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviour. Small children have less self-control as they are not aware of the rules of any given social environment. Even if they are aware, they have a hard time understanding such rules. It is necessary for them to learn and incorporate this value in their daily life.
How do attachment and affection play a role in self-control? As said earlier, healthy attachment styles such as secure attachment enable the parent to be sensitive to their kid’s feelings, provide feedback and allow them to flourish as independent individuals. Parents are good at identifying their children’s feelings and thoughts which helps them manage such emotions and impulses.
When your child throws a tantrum when you refuse to buy a branded shirt for them instead of scolding him you can raise questions like: Why do you want the shirt? Consequently, the child may reveal that he wants his friends to like him. This allows you to get to the root of the problem and make him understand. In this case, it could be the issues he faces at school among his peer group.
Children find it very hard to exercise self-control. Parents must be patient with their child but also draw a line when and as needed. Sometimes too much liberty and forgiveness cause your child to become pampered. Encourage your child to be independent while acting like someone they can turn to while they’re in crisis.
• Secure attachment allows you to develop a healthy relationship with your child.
• The healthy parent-child relationship affects a child’s self-esteem because of factors such as constant feedback and empathy towards the child.
• Parents can help their child regulate his thoughts and emotions and hence exercise self-control.