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October Sky

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It has been known for a long time now that the emotional life and experiences of a child has a strong impact on his personal relations, behavior, and learning. Research that has been conducted in current times has only further emphasized on this factor, also stating that the early childhood years are the most crucial years for children with regards to the development of their future mental health and self-esteem. As I will emphasize in this paper, there are usually vast differences in the thought processes and consequent actions of adolescents and adults who have low self-esteem because when they were children, this aspect was never paid a lot of attention to by the adults around them. Self-esteem plays a very important role in the way we think, act and form personal relations. Childhood years are extremely critical years for the development of a healthy self-esteem and parents or adults should ensure that they do not ignore this vital aspect, so that their child grows up to be a emotionally healthy adult. When children have a healthy sense of self-esteem, they feel that the adults around them love them and accept them for who they are. They feel secure in the knowledge that they are not alone and there exit adults who would definitely ensure their safety and well-being in every possible way. This is a very important belief for a child because if at this time a child suffers from low self-esteem and insecurity, feeling that he is unwanted, unloved and unaccepted, there is a high probability that as an adult, he will suffer from learning disabilities, disciplinary problems, and depression.

To ensure that a child holds a positive inner picture of himself, he or she needs at least one reliable, responsive adult who they feel connected to, and who is there for them at a permanent basis. These are the years where children are becoming familiar with the basic concept of trust and if at this stage they don’t learn how to trust, or suffer mental anguish due to broken trust issues, they learn not to trust again. Consequences of this are usually inability to form productive relationships. A child who thinks he does not have any reliable adult to count on does not know how to behave with compassion and tolerance because he has not had experience with such emotions and requisite situations.

Communication is another important tool in developing a child’s self-esteem because this is the most vital component of social relations. It is through communication that children advance intellectually and emotionally, as they exchange information, share feelings and form bonds. Building self-esteem in a child during these formative years is not complete without setting reasonable boundaries. It would be wrong to think that in order to build a child’s self-esteem, he has to be encouraged and appreciated at all times. He must be reprimanded for his wrong doings and his punishment should match his act, rather than be too mild or harsh. These reasonable and consistent limits make him or her feel safe and enhance self-esteem. Adults should set achievable standards for children so that all limits are understood.

The development of self-esteem is a lifelong task. From the time a child is born, he begins to develop, refine and change his sense of self worth and identity and continued to do so as he goes to being an adolescent and later on, an adult. However, even at different stages of his childhood, a child handles this task differently. ”Around the ages of six and seven, a child will still rely on an adult’s or parent’s guidance. Around the age of eight, Children begin to clarify their own sense of who they are. It’s a time for kids to confront new situations and develop their skills and self awareness.” (Brewer, Scholastic Parent and Child 14.5 [2007])

Self- esteem issues are different between boys and girls. “Girls will frequently get down in the dumps about their supposed imperfections and the latest experience of spit.” (Brewer, Scholastic Parent and Child 14.5 [2007]). Girls can also be down because of things like criticism, sarcasm, unfavourable



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