How to Help your Child Grow into a Strong Personality. Psychologist’s Advice and Proven Methods from Experienced Parent

      • Jul 23, 2019

        “My son is almost 9 years old and 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 this 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 his homework and received a bad note in his school diary. He could have either called that classmate or asked someone else at least to make photos of the exercises and send them to him. But he was shy and scared. How do you 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 do you raise a boy to be strong, but not a troublemaker?”

        – Marina (27), mother of Arseny (8)

        We often worry about our children. Sometimes without any reason, but often with good cause. For example, a son may be uncertain and too reserved, he cannot stand up for himself and his peers easily manipulate him. Or a daughter studies poorly, considers herself stupid, gives up easily and does not know how to achieve what she wants. Or a grandson who is restless and anxious and only expresses any emotions through anger and screaming. All these qualities and behavioral features interfere with a child within the family now, and will interfere more in the future, and even into adulthood, if nothing changes.

        While children are growing up, we – the parents – can influence the formation and development of their personalities. In many ways it depends on us what habits our children will assume and what character traits they can develop. Therefore, it is better not to wait until the grown-up child faces the problems himself/herself, but to help now. Let’s talk about what qualities children need in order to become strong personalities while in their childhood, as well as how to develop these qualities.

        Contents:

        • Twelve qualities of the formation of a strong personality in childhood
          • How to help your child grow into a strong personality: psychological advice
        • Show a personal example
        • Do not compare your child with other children
        • Do not criticize
        • Give your child opportunities to try
        • Support and believe in your child
        • Form good habits
        • 7. Let your children go

Twelve qualities of the formation of a strong personality in childhood

Mental development and the personality formation of a child begins from birth and passes on into adulthood. Of course, people at any age can change, but it is more pleasant and beneficial to live for a person who has already learned in childhood the qualities which will help him/her 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 studying, a conscious independent activity, begins at school. What qualities should a child develop in order to grow a strong personality?

  1. The ability to calculate the consequences of one’s own actions, to distinguish between own responsibility and the responsibility of other people and not to undertake too much.
  2. The habit of making independent decisions, striving to implement them while overcoming obstacles.
  3. Self-confidence and self-reliance. The ability to soberly assess your skills, to believe in yourself and not to give up when faced with the slightest difficulty.
  4. The ability to create goals, to plan their achievement and not to lose sight of them, to self-motivate and achieve them.
  5. The ability to organize yourself and your space, follow a schedule and adhere to the rules.
  6. To instill the ability to maintain order at home and in one’s surroundings and observe personal hygiene.
  7. Stress resistance. Know how to overcome life’s difficulties and survive stressful situations without serious losses.
  8. Hard work. The ability to enjoy and put effort into work and study.
  9. To find friends, to negotiate, to communicate, to have charisma and be open and friendly.
  10. To respect and care of other people, animals, and nature.
  11. The ability to share and help others, to be able to share not only material values, but also provide moral support and be capable of compassion and empathy.
  12. The ability to express and develop your creative potential, to be able to think outside the box and offer original solutions.

Of course, it is not necessary to develop all these qualities at the same time. Something may be more important or something less. You can create a portrait of a strong personality and develop the necessary qualities in a child yourself or by using the 7Spsy behavior modification technique.

Also, note that some qualities are inaccessible to children because of their age, for example, at 8-9 years it is more difficult to calculate the consequences of actions than at 18-19. But we can lay the foundation for the development of positive qualities, such as talking about what the consequences of some actions may be, showing an example, allowing the child to face the consequences (of course, only if there is no danger to health and life). So how can you help your child develop a strong character, strength of mind, and generally become a strong personality?

How to help your child grow into a strong personality: psychological advice

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 nurture such formation and development. It is useless to yell at the turnip 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 [1], but also practical methods that have helped other parents.

1. Show a personal example

This is the most obvious mechanism for developing a child’s personality. Children should have an opportunity to copy our behavior, so behave in a way that sets an example so that children can learn well from you. Of course, children can grow up contrary to the parental pattern, for example, having grown up in a home of a constant mess, they may stubbornly maintain order in their apartment. But this example is quite rare, and it is likely that your children will adopt your habits and key points of your worldview.

“My daughter is in the sixth grade and previously she generally lost faith in herself. The slightest failure – and she was in tears: “I can’t, I can’t handle it”, although we have always supported and encouraged her. I struggled with this misfortune and offered a personal solution. My daughter sobbed that she was not good enough at running and physical education. She received only bad marks. We started working together and went to a running school. She saw how I began to improve, and she improved together with me. Now there is no problem, my daughter is now 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)

  1. Do not compare your child with other children

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 aggravate the habit of comparing. This can lead to low self-esteem (well, of course, children of my mother’s friend are clearly better than me), to the fear of error (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 have known that it’s better not to compare, but children are not blind. My Anya saw that a classmate received “excellent”, but Anya did not. She compared herself with her, though I tried to avoid this. But I thought of something and said: “You really have a worse mark than Varya. It seems strange to me, because I know that you can do better. What’s stopping you? Do you think you could get a good mark like her too? If you want, I will help”. Or: “Yes, that girl roller-skates well. But how many times do you think she fell down while she was training, 40 or 50?” And it seems I voiced the difference that my daughter had already seen, 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)

  1. Do not criticize

You may not like some of the actions of your child, but try to separate the actions from the personality of the child. You should not criticize a child as a person, and say: “You always cause problems, you always study poorly, you will always be a failure, you are a bully and stupid”. This forms a fixed mindset and seriously hinders the upbringing and development of the child’s personality. Instead, it’s better to focus on the offending action itself and how it can be changed.

“Our son’s adolescence was difficult for our family. He didn’t want to do his homework. He was sitting for the whole day at the computer and 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 and to figure out what he wants from life. Somewhere in the middle of this “vacation”, he asked about a part-time job with me at my advertising agency – he wanted pocket money. I took him as an intern. I thought I’d let him make 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 he understood “I like this field, and that working, getting results and striving to improve my skills is better than being a bad student”.

– Artyom (44), father of Dmitry (18)

  1. Give your child opportunities to try

Sometimes I really want to do it myself, because it seems that children will not cope. It could be making crafts for children at school, cleaning their rooms, cooking them food and doing their laundry. “Well, I’m Mom, I have to, because he’ll definitely screw it up”. But if you do not give a child the opportunity to try, he/she 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 do the thing together, then give more and more independence until he/she has mastered the whole skill. This principle of learning is called the zone of proximal development, as it was described by L.S. Vygotsky.

“My mother took care of me so much in my studies – she did my homework with me and helped me until it wasn’t done. Until the seventh grade I was an excellent pupil, and then my mother got tired, and suddenly 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. Up until the seventh grade, I was under constant care and everything was decided for me. When my son went to school, I also helped him, but gradually gave him more and more responsibility for his lessons. By the seventh grade, he had switched to self-control – I did not even check his diary. He ably 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)

  1. Support and believe in your child

A child who is loved and supported by parents learns to love and support himself/herself. Parental faith forms an inner confidence to the 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 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 my driving test, I was very nervous, and then he squeezed my hand twice – I was exhilarated and I realized that I could handle it”.

– Tamara (46), mother of Timur (24)

  1. Form good habits

Useful skills are best formed in childhood – so children do not have to relearn them in adulthood. Determine what skills your children may find useful and gradually build them into your lives. At first, until the child fully learns the skill, it is important to help and support him/her, not to scold for failures, and to be optimistic.

One way to build good habits is via 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, but later the child will be able to do tasks himself/herself. Classes are held remotely and 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 to one which is  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 thought before the birth of children that everything would be simple, but it turned out that raising children is the most difficult task. For example, everything is clear with computers – I write the codes, and it works. Eight hours at work – go home and relax. But children are not programmed, and they exist 24 hours a day. When school began, I soon realized that I was a loser-father, it was generally not clear what to do and how to behave. As a result, I consulted with my wife and went to a behavior psychologist. She put our brains right, 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 don’t have the task of completely switching them to school-mode, after all they are our children, we are interested in how they are doing”.

– German (42) father of Nikita and Nika (9)

7. Let your children go

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.

Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics. 

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