Kids Life Tuscaloosa May/June 2021 - Page 12

By Larry Deavers

As a child , do you ever remember wanting your parents to watch you do something you were excited about ? Every child desires their parents ’ attention . We all not only want , but need the validation early in life that we are worth paying attention to . We each have a deepseated drive for recognition and affirmation and our most meaningful source of this early in life is our Mom and Dad .

When this need is not sufficiently met , it creates self-doubt and can impact the development of our personality . When we do not have an affirmative answer to the question , “ Am I worth paying attention to ?”, we can become preoccupied with needing the validation and attention from others . This can drive the way we view all of our relationships . Believing that we are not worthwhile can set us up for unhealthy dynamics in the way we seek the validation later in life from our spouse , friends , or even our children .
Even as adults , we can be strongly motivated by seeking recognition and praise from someone else for what we do . Taken


too far , this reliance on praise in order for us to find satisfaction often causes us to seek it even when it is not merited . This can lead to us feeling disappointed , hurt and angry when others do not offer it freely . When we feel as though we haven ’ t received enough recognition , we may also deny it to others even when they have done something extraordinary . The constant search for affirmation can also spark jealousy when we see others getting recognition . We may find ourselves undermining or unjustly criticizing the achievements of others .
This can set us up for conflict in our work , marriage , or other adult relationships , where we unconsciously seek continual validation from the other person . Depending on someone else to prove that you have value , especially when you , yourself , do not believe it , is an unachievable expectation for any relationship .

Balancing Encouragement and Discipline : So , how do you keep from passing on this same self-doubt to your children ? They can easily feel defeated when we focus too much on criticism , but correction is a key part of your parenting responsibility . Maintaining the balance between being the cheer leader your child needs , while providing correction and guidance is a struggle every caring parent has . Finding the right way to develop confidence , positive self-worth and belief in their may / june 2021