I don’t want to hurt his/her Self Esteem, Parents say to Dr. Levy

esteem_750Parents often want to talk to me alone for the first session, or at least part of the session. What they tell me usually isn’t profound or a ‘secret’, but rather, they just want to describe some of the behaviors of their youngster.

When I ask why they preferred to tell me in private instead of in front of their child, they often respond, “because I was afraid of hurting his self-esteem. I don’t want him to think bad things about himself.”

I understand this. No parent wants to mention anything negative in front of their child. However, the problem is either the child knows about these problems he/she is creating, or totally oblivious to them. If they are aware, then speaking in front of them won’t have much negative effect. Yet, if they don’t know what the problem is, then they can’t fix it.
Hence, it is as important to be clear and direct with your child as it is with your spouse. Unless we know what the problem is, we can’t fix it. And, there are some children/adolescents who know what the problem is but have no motivation or desire to alter their behavior. They are the ones who need to hear it the most.

There are some kids who get embarrassed when parents talk about their misbehavior. Again, I recommend that parents talk openly and honestly in front of them so they know what behaviors need to be improved.

 

Yes, it may cause embarrassment, but it will be more embarrassing for them if they grow up still demonstrating these behaviors and their peers or spouses have to be the first one to enlighten them.

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