Children are impressionable and as long as you undermine their personality, and keep making them feel like they’re not good enough, they’re going to be less confident and probably will develop a people-pleasing attitude. As parents, you must make sure to avoid that from happening. In an interaction with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Puja Kapoor, Paediatric Neurologist and Co-founder of Continua kids, Gurgaon, shares some tips to prevent your child from becoming a people-pleaser and more confident in life.
Characteristics Of A People-Pleaser
Some of the common traits of people pleasers include:
- Difficulty saying no
- Constantly seeking approval and validation from others
- Prioritising others' needs and desires over their own
- Avoiding conflict at all costs
- Feeling anxious or guilty when they can't meet people’s expectations
- Having low self-esteem or self-worth
- Struggling to assert their own opinions or boundaries
- Fear of rejection or disapproval
- Often feeling overwhelmed by trying to meet everyone's needs
These character traits in kids can be avoided if parents take necessary steps. Here are some ways to tackle people-pleasing behaviour in children.
Develop Strong Sense Of Self
Dr Kapoor says, “Helping children develop a strong sense of self is crucial in preventing people-pleasing behaviours.”
According to Medical News Today, some of the common causes of people-pleasing include low self esteem, anxiety, conflict avoidance, culture and socialisation, trauma, and certain personality disorders.
Therefore, the doctor recommends encouraging kids to develop a diverse range of interests and friendships, which can help broaden their perspectives and build confidence.
“Remember, building resilience and self-assurance takes time and patience. Be a supportive and loving presence in their lives as they navigate the journey towards developing a strong sense of self,” she says.
Teach Children To Value Their Own Needs And Desires
Prioritising one’s own needs over others is a difficult task, but once it's achieved, it can be a huge milestone. Dr Kapoor says, “Teach children to value their own needs and desires, while also considering the needs of others. Foster their independence and decision-making skills by involving them in age-appropriate choices.”
Make Saying ‘No’ Okay
Open communication between parents and children is not only necessary but helpful in several ways. Parents must be able to validate children’s feelings and opinions when brought up by them rather than always seeking approval or avoiding conflict.
“As parents, we must teach them that it's okay to say 'no' and set boundaries. Emphasise the importance of self-care and self-respect,” Dr Kapoor says.
Be A Role Model
Children have the tendency to imitate their parents, after all they’re who they trust the most. As parents, it is your duty to be the best role model.
Showcase healthy behaviours by setting boundaries, expressing your own opinions, and respecting your own needs. In addition, teach them the importance of empathy and understanding, while also emphasising the importance of staying true to themselves.
Praise Their Efforts And Accomplishments
Lastly, do not limit yourself from praising your child’s efforts and their accomplishments. Make sure you help them understand that their worth is not dependent on others' opinions.
A people-pleasing behaviour is not something children are born with. It is rather picked up and learnt. From having low self-confidence to seeking validation from others, many factors contribute to such an attitude. Parents must make sure to break the cycle and work towards developing a strong personality in their children.