(For other articles by Dr. Swatantra Jain, please check this webpage)

Sunny had started going to school with great interest but now he’s afraid of going to school. When asked about the reason, he said, “Kids make fun of me as I can’t speak clearly like them”. 
Aastha doesn’t have the courage to recall her lessons in the class well despite learning it well, for she is afraid of the humiliation by the teacher. Anshul has the feeling that his mom doesn’t love him as much as she loves his sister, as he is not as smart as her.

All the kids in the above cited instances suffer from inferiority complex, low self-esteem and confidence. It’s not only these very kids, but millions of such kids are the victim of inferiority complex, low esteem & self- confidence. Is this their destiny? Are they themselves responsible for their inferiority complex & low self-confidence? If not, then who is responsible? If, ‘Yes’ why and how they are responsible? Can’t they ever get rid of their inferiority complex?

We, the parents of all such kids need to peep into ourselves and ask whether our kid’s inferiority complex is due to their kids’ inability or our own mistakes in our rearing style. No child is ever born with low/high confidence and inferiority complex. We parents, teachers and society force them to be so by our wrong upbringing and treatment. But the hundred dollar question is, ‘how’ and ‘what can be done’?

Some reasons along with some tips to help the kids to keep out of this pathetic state are given below:

1. Not being aware of their innate capabilities: Having expectations from our kids without being aware of their capabilities is a gross injustice to them. But we’re mistaken that we know our kids fully well. A while ago, a parent, who wanted his son to pursue non-medical group in his senior-secondary class, came to me for advice. After his aptitude test, I told him that his son, being very low on all the four basic abilities required for the success in non-medical group viz. numerical, reasoning, abstract and special ability; shouldn’t be forced for the non-medical group. Though sad and dismayed, he was full of remorse over the thought that he had been doing great injustice to his son by showering taunts without knowing his innate abilities.

So, instead of taunting your kids please form your expectations only after knowing their abilities from a good counsellor.
2. Not being able to accept our kid’s incapabilities/deficiencies: Many a times despite knowing our kid’s weaknesses, we aren’t able to accept them and keep on taunting them directly/indirectly. This develops inferiority complex in them and lowers their self-esteem and self-confidence.

So, if your kid has some physical, intellectual, emotional or temperamental deficiency; gracefully accept it, forget your expectations, and rather concentrate on developing other positive aspects of her life. Just like if a child is somehow not able to use her right hand; after a while, we accept her and help her to use her left hand efficiently; similarly we can enhance their self confidence & self esteem by accepting their innate disabilities or deficiencies and encouraging and inspiring them to develop other positive aspects of their personality.

3. On taunting them when they don’t come up-to your wrong expectations: Many parents make their kids the victims of inferiority complex by consistently taunting them.

Kindly stop punishing them for no fault of theirs and for God’s sake don’t impose your wrong expectations on them to the extent that they lose their self confidence for the whole of their lives.
4. By comparing them with other kids: We must know that all the kids can’t have similar abilities or deficiencies of body, mind and heart. They neither have similar aspirations, dreams, attitudes, ways of doing a thing or even treatment; nor their life-values or aims of life.

Hence never compare your kid with any of her siblings or other kids. By constant comparison with other kids, they are likely to develop not only a feeling of inferiority complex and low self-confidence but also start hating or having jealousy against the compared guy. The process doesn’t stop here, as by so doing, you may unconsciously sow the seeds of arrogance or over-confidence in your preferred kid with whom she is consistently being compared with. Also, the former may try to humiliate the later and spoil the relationship amongst siblings only due to your unjust comparisons.
5. Your undue insistence to make your kid like someone else: Quite often we get impressed by some special/unique quality of our neighbor or friend’s kids and do great injustice to our kids by forcing them to become like the former. Due to your consistent humiliation on their not being able to do so, they aren’t able to come out of their inferiority complex.

So, kindly let them be their own-selves and help them to grow and develop their own potentials and pursue their area of interest.
6. Due to reprimanding or cursing them over petty mistakes even: We all may commit mistakes. But many parents don’t spare and continue nagging & humiliating their kids on committing some mistakes and keep on injuring their psyche by taunting and hurling humiliating comments, viz. ‘Can’t you do anything properly? Or ‘it is my folly to expect anything from you’, ‘You can’t ever improve or learn anything’, and so on. How can we expect such kids to come up even to their own expectations, what to say of our expectations?

So, instead of humiliating them, kindly guide them lovingly, praise them before others even on their smallest of achievements or good gestures and encourage them. This will enhance their self-confidence and lessen inferiority complex.
7. By insulting them before others: Mind it; kids are very sensitive to their self-respect. They feel terribly hurt if they’re scolded, beaten or humiliated in front of others.

So, if at all, you need to scold them, do it in privacy but always praise them in front of others. But yes, never shower false praise.
8. Don’t make them feel that they can’t do their work properly: Nagging the kids over almost all the issues or making them feel that ‘their work or style of working isn’t appropriate’, develops in them a feeling of inferiority complex and lowers their self-confidence and self-esteem.

So kindly restraint yourself and don’t criticize and condemn them on every occasion.
9. Due to your impatience/lack of patience: Some kids have time anxiety and can’t manage doing things under time pressure. But many parents keep on stressing their kids to work speedily due to which they aren’t able to do any work correctly. So they commit more mistakes due to undue pressure which results in lowering their self-confidence and developing inferiority complex.

So please enhance your patience and self-restraint. Kindly try to deal them empathetically rather than nagging them, develop your patience and treat them with love, patience and restraint.

10. For avoiding your own botheration: If we ask ourselves how much freedom do we give to our kids, we’ll realize that we do many a things for our kids to avoid our own botheration e g feeding them, doing their home work, making their projects or managing their things after they return from school or play ground. But sorry to say, we put them to shame by nagging them on every occasion when they aren’t able to do those very chores/ things (which you didn’t let them do themselves) rightly or neatly when they’re grown up.

So, please be compassionate to your kids and let them do their work themselves. Yes, be prepared for their mistakes and follies. Encourage them lovingly while tolerating their silly mistakes with all smiles. Then see how much confidence they develop.
11. Due to your over-protective attitude: Knowingly or unknowingly many parents lower their kids confidence (especially of girls) by over-protecting them due to their own unconscious anxiety or fear. A teenager suffering from very low self-confidence and high anxiety talked of her dad’s undue treatment; who never allowed her going anywhere alone even after she joined hostel for her higher studies. Such parents forget that by so doing they hurt the psyche of their kids terribly and lower their self-confidence.

Please mind, where as it’s essential to discipline your kids appropriately, it’s also important to enhance their confidence and esteem by giving them due respect in a right manner. Many kids, knowing very well that their parents love them, aren’t able to keep themselves happy because somehow, they have the feeling that their parents don’t give them that very respect which is enjoyed by other siblings or peers.

So it is essential that we help our kids by accepting and helping them develop their capabilities, skills and areas of their best interest because it is our sacred duty to enhance their self-confidence and self-esteem by giving them the love and respect they deserve and save them from undesirable feeling of inferiority complex.