“My son is almost 9 years old; last year he went to the 1st grade. And if everything was normal in the kindergarten, now there is a feeling that he is growing up too soft and modest. Recently such a situation happened – a classmate took his textbook and did not return it, either forgot, or on purpose. My son didn’t say anything, did not do homework, received a bad note in his school diary. But he could either call that classmate, or ask someone else at least to make photos of exercises and sent them to him. He was shy, scared. How to grow confidence and determination in a child? Of course, I do not want a bully and a brawler, but it is necessary to be able to stand up for yourself and for your interests. How to raise a boy strong, but not a troublemaker?”
– Marina (27), mother of Arseny (8)
We often worry about our children. Sometimes without any reason, but more often there are still some. For example, a son is uncertain and too reserved, cannot stand up for himself, and his peers easily manipulate him. Or a daughter studies poorly, considers herself stupid, gives up quickly and does not know how to achieve what she wants. Or a grandson is restless and anxious, but expresses any emotions through anger and scream. All these qualities and behavioral features interfere with a child and the family now – and will interfere in the future, already in adulthood, if nothing changes.
While children are growing up, we – the parents – can influence the formation and development of the child’s personality. In many ways it depends on us what habits our children will get, what character traits they can develop. Therefore, it is better not to wait until the grown-up child solves the problems himself/herself, but to help him now. Let’s talk about what qualities children need in order to be a strong personality already in childhood, as well as how to develop these qualities.
Mental development and personality formation of a child begins from birth and passes into adulthood. Of course, people at any age can change, but it is more pleasant and easier to live for a person who has learned already in childhood the qualities which will help become a strong personality, because he/she does not need to spend time and energy on retraining. We will talk mainly about school-age children, since the study – a conscious, independent activity begins already at school. What qualities should a child develop in order to grow a strong personality?
Of course, it is not necessary to develop all these qualities at the same time. Something may be more important to you, something may be less. You can create a portrait of a strong personality and develop the necessary qualities in a child yourself or using the 7Spsy behavior modification technique.
Also, note that some qualities are inaccessible to children because of age, for example, at 8-9 years it is more difficult to calculate the consequences of their actions than at 18-19. But we can lay the foundation for the development of these qualities: talking about what the consequences of some actions may be, showing an example, allowing the child to face the consequences (of course, if there is no danger to health and life). So how can you help your child develop a strong character and a strength of mind, become a strong personality?
You cannot force a person of any age to be stronger. Punishment and compulsion will harm rather than help. The strength of personality is formed within and develops as one grows older. The task of parents is to help such formation and development. It is useless to yell at the sprout and pull it up with your hands – this will not help it grow, but you can water and take care, and then it will grow per se. What methods and means will help develop a strong personality in a child? We have collected for you not only the advice of a psychologist , but also practical methods that have helped other parents.
It is the most obvious mechanism for developing a child’s personality. Children should have an opportunity to copy our behavior, so behave yourself the way so that children could learn good from you. Of course, children can grow up contrary to their parental pattern, for example, having seen enough of a constant mess, they will stubbornly maintain order in their apartment. But this method does not always work, and it is likely that your children will adopt your habits and key moments of your worldview.
“My daughter is in the sixth grade and she generally lost faith in herself. The slightest failure – and she is in tears: “I can’t, I can’t handle it”, although we always supported and encouraged her. I struggled with this misfortune by personal example. My daughter sobbed that she was not good enough in running and physical education. She received only bad marks. We started studying together, went to running school, she saw how I myself began to study, and she studied together with me. Now there is no problem, my daughter was convinced that dexterity and strength can be developed perfectly. The important thing is the coach and discipline in compliance with the training plan”.
– Maria (45), mother of Ira (12)
It is advisable to avoid both positive and negative comparisons. Sooner or later your child will start to do this himself/herself, so it’s better not to fix and not aggravate the habit of comparing – this can lead to low self-esteem (well, of course, children of my mother’s girlfriend are clearly better than me), to the fear of mistake (if I make a mistake, I will become the worst), to increased anxiety (I have to be better, what if I can’t cope?).
“For a long time I know that it’s better not to compare, but children are not blind. My Anya sees that a classmate received “excellent”, but Anya did not. She compares herself with her, though I tried to avoid this. But I made up something. I said: “You really have a worse mark than Varya. It’s strange for me, because I know that you can do better. What’s stopping you? Do you think you could get a good mark next time too? If you want, I will help”. Or: “Yes, that girl roller-skates cool. How do you think how many times she fell down while she was training, 40 or 150?” And it seems I stated the difference that the daughter already sees, but the emphasis is on the self-development, and not on comparison. The daughter likes it, she does not give up, and I am satisfied”.
– Yaroslav (39), father of Anna (10)
You may not like the actions of your children, but try to separate the actions from the personality of the child. When you criticize a child as a person, you say: “You always cause problems, you always study poorly, you will always be a failure, a bully, stupid”. This forms a fixed mindset and interferes with the upbringing and development of the child’s personality. Instead, it’s better to focus on the actions themselves and how they can be changed.
“Our son’s adolescence was difficult for our family. He didn’t want to do his homework; was sitting a whole day at the computer, didn’t help much with household chores. To tell the truth, sometimes we quarreled with him seriously. It was clear that he did not want to go to the 10th grade, but he did not choose a profession either. We decided not to give up on him, but to give him a year to breathe out and figure out what he wants from life. Somewhere in the middle of this “vacation”, he himself asked for a part-time job with me at my advertising agency – he wanted pocket money. I took him as an intern. Let him make a coffee at least. But suddenly it turned out that Dimka had a good understanding of graphic software and could read technical documentation in English. And the son understood “he likes this field, and that working, getting results and striving to improve his skills is better than being a bad student”.
– Artyom (44), father of Dmitry (18)
Sometimes I really want to do it myself, because it seems that children will not cope. To make crafts for children at school, clean their rooms, cook them food and do laundry. “Well, I’m mom, I have to, but he’ll definitely screw it up”. But if you do not give a child the opportunity to try, he will never learn. A constant interception of the initiative can make a child subordinate not only at home, but also at school. Therefore, if you really understand that a child does not know how to do something yet – teach him/her gradually. First you do something together, then a child is under your control, then you give more and more independence until he/she has mastered the whole skill. This principle of learning is called the zone of proximal development, it was described by L.S. Vygotsky.
“My mother took care of me so much in my studies – she did homework with me, helped me until it wasn’t done. And until the seventh grade I was an excellent pupil. And then my mother got tired, and at one moment she refused to help me. As a result, my marks started to get worse and worse. Well, in general, I turned out to be a weak-minded child and did not know what to do if I was bullied. Just until the seventh grade, I was under constant care, everything was decided for me. When my son went to school, I also helped him, but gradually gave him more and more responsibility for the lessons. By the seventh grade, he switched to self-control – I did not even check his diary. He normally finished the high school, now it is his first year at the uni, and he studies himself. Sometimes he asks for help, but only if something is complicated or he needs to check it”.
– Lyudmila (37) and Andrey (17)
A child who is loved and supported by parents learns to love and support himself/herself. Parental faith forms inner confidence, inner core. “Let’s try again. I believe that you will succeed. You’ve almost done it yourself, let me help you a little – and next time you will do better”.
“It’s not always possible to support with words, so my son and I invented with a secret code – a double hand squeeze meant “I love you, I know that you can do it”. I used this method at a meeting in the 1st grade, at the doctor’s office, before the school championship. Tim recently drove me to the driving test, I was very nervous, and when he squeezed my hand twice – I let all go. I realized that I can handle it”.
– Tamara (46), mother of Timur (24)
Useful skills are best formed in childhood – so children do not have to relearn in adulthood. Determine what skills your children may find useful and gradually build them into your life. At first, until the child gets used to it and learns the skill, it is important to help and support him/her, not to scold for failures, to cheer up.
One way to build good habits is the 7Spsy behavior modification technique. This is a patented method of behavioral therapy, based on the theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky and others. The method is designed for independent work, you will only need a little help in the beginning, and later a child can do it himself/herself. Classes are held remotely, privately, and the psychologist will always be in touch and will be able to help and support. You choose the form of communication yourself – phone, online chat or e-mail.
After 6 weeks, the behavior model of your son or daughter will change, become more independent and self-sufficient, he/she will control the learning process at school and will begin to rely more on himself/herself rather than on the opinions of peers. The 7Spsy behavior modification technique will help lay the foundation for a strong personality.
“I also thought before the birth of children that everything was simple, but it turned out that children are the most difficult. For example, everything is clear with computers – I wrote the code, and it works. 8 hours at work – go home, relax. And children are not programmed. And they exist 24 hours a day. And when the school has begun, I generally realized that I was a loser-father, it was generally not clear what to do and how to behave. As a result, we consulted with my wife and went to a behavior psychologist. She put our brains in their place, and helped our children. We figured out the features of the development of children’s personalities and no longer interfere with them. The biggest achievement is that we no longer sit with them until midnight with homework. Children somehow plan their time themselves. They come for help, of course, but we didn’t have the task of completely switching them to school, after all, they are our children, we are interested in how they are doing”.
– German (42) father of Nikita and Nika (9)
Some parents make one mistake – they perceive a child as their property, their continuation and part of themselves. But any child is a completely new, different person, with own interests and aspirations, with own hobbies and desires. Children should not be like us. Children should have the right to their personal path and even their personal mistakes. Parents who are constantly worried, strive to protect against any faults, are breaking the child to make him/her comfortable and “correct” – they get a child who succumbs to the influence of others because he/she is used to being led in the family.
“My daughter went to music school for 5 years. She did not want to be a professional musician, but she liked it. A new teacher appeared, with whom conflicts have begun almost immediately. She found fault with literally everything, criticized and plagued. I don’t know what was wrong. The daughter cried and refused to go there, but we forced her to go – it has been already for 5 years, a little bit was left. As a result, we gave up and did not bother how to increase the stress resistance in the child. It was not worth the nerves and daily tears. And recently, my daughter said to me that she is very grateful to us that we allowed her to leave. It turns out that my daughter did not tell us much, and everything was worse than we thought”.
– Margarita (41), mother of Veronica (19)
Being a sensitive and responsible parent is an important job that requires a lot of effort and time. But you are here, you are reading this article – then you want to lay a solid foundation for the development of a strong personality in your child. And we believe that you can do it.