How to help children overcome self-limiting beliefs
How to help children overcome self-limiting beliefs
Some children are shy and some or not, while some children feel confident with interactions, in public places or during activities and parties, others do not feel the same confidence. Why? What is the reason behind this?
The answer to this is simple: it relies on their belief as to what they choose to think about themselves and their surroundings.
As this very powerful statement by Gandhi says, “We often become what we believe ourselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it.”
So what are self-limiting beliefs?
Self-limiting beliefs can be perceptions about oneself and about the way the world is, why they become self-limiting is because they hold you back from achieving something to your full capability. In other words, it refers to either physical or mental limits that people create for themselves which constrain them in many ways. So in very simple terms, the belief that one cannot achieve something restricts them from achieving it.
Some examples of self-limiting beliefs that can prevent children from achieving their goals could be: “what if I am wrong?” “What if I’m not good enough?”, “what if I sound stupid?”, “what if a certain doubt that I have is irrelevant or obvious?”, “somebody else probably has had this idea already.”, “what if I make fun of myself?” and the like.
Many of us may have felt this as we grew up, and even now in many situations at work and elsewhere. These limits only stack up as we grow. That is, we constantly keep adding to them throughout our lives and discover more and more things that we can’t do.
“We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.”–Louise L. Hay.
It is vital to remember that what we imbibe or believe as a child will always stick to us in our subconscious minds. Therefore, we need to challenge self-limiting beliefs in our children right at this stage and help them in crushing them. Self-limiting beliefs if not conquered can become the adversary to progress and happiness in the long run. This is especially true if these beliefs are put in children’s minds by people such as parents, caregivers, teachers, and other authority figures.
How to help children overcome these beliefs?
Figuring out the limiting beliefs:
Try to help your children follow their thoughts and emotions to discover what holds them back, to know what their self-limiting beliefs are. It is important to first know what these beliefs are and how strong each belief could be and the reactions they elicit in your children.
Showing them that these are beliefs and not facts:
It is important to make the children understand that beliefs aren’t facts. When something is perceived as truth, children will not push forward to prove it wrong, so by instantly helping them achieve something that they’ve always thought they cannot, you are breaking this chain of belief as fact.
Understand the importance of support and encouragement:
From a very young age, children begin to form beliefs about themselves and their place in the world around them. Kids are very good at spotting patterns and making associations as they constantly process the stream of information around them.
They generally base these beliefs on experiences shaped by parents and other authority figures in early childhood. For example; If I yell at someone, I get reprimanded, so shouting at people must be bad. If I help someone, I get rewarded, so being polite and helpful must be good. These beliefs become more complex as they grow older. However, the core belief systems that were formed as young children will remain ever powerful, and despite encountering new information or explanation, these beliefs are often subconsciously present.
So as parents, we need to encourage and reinforce the things that our children are good at and can do best. Challenges along the path will always be there, but teaching them that they shouldn’t avoid challenges or believe that certain challenges are achievable is important, as nothing is unattainable with the right support and encouragement.
Using positive reinforcements:
As parents, caregivers, family members, or teachers, we spend so much time with the children that we not only touch their lives in the present but also influence them well into their future. To avoid children forming self-limiting beliefs or to change the belief system of children who have such beliefs, we must educate ourselves about the powerful effects of negative actions and words towards children.
We should develop a network of support through critical positive reinforcement in our children every day, for them to be confident, open-minded, and willing to take on challenges. Saying things like; “I believe in you” “you are important to me” “we care for you” “we love you” “we are here to listen to you” “we trust you” “we know you can do this” “we know you can handle the situation” and so on, will guide children to develop enabling beliefs that will lead to potential growth and success consequently.
At Sherwood high, we believe in spreading awareness on the importance of the role that parents, teachers, and other significant adults play in their children’s lives. We must understand the importance of how much positive talk, positive inspirations, inspiring books and quotes, enriching life experiences, and positive role models can impact children’s lives.
It is also important to remember that these beliefs took a long time to form and that they cannot be changed overnight, but with the right support, encouragement, and consistency you will be able to help your children make real, measurable progress along with powerful changes in their lives.