A parent’s doubt

Being told you won’t be able to do that, for some children makes them even more determined to prove their parents wrong, whilst for others it only serves to enforce feelings of limited self-worth and confidence, particularly if they already have low self-esteem.

There are also parents who believe their children can do what they set their minds to, but in order to test their children’s resilience, the parent says they can’t. The more the parent says they can’t, the more the child is determined to succeed, initially to prove their parents wrong.

When my daughter was 2 years and 10 months old, she was playing outside in the front garden and asked for her stabilisers to be taken off her bike so she could ride freestyle. My first thought was you’re too young, you’re not ready, you’ll fall off, but she began to insist.

Having been told by us that she would probably fall, she defied all logic and still continued to insist and although she knew we weren’t happy for her to ride freestyle, she started to mount her bike, insisting that her stabilisers be taken off. We took her stabilisers came off, but our logic as parents was that a child that is only 2 years and 10 months old, wouldn’t be ready to ride a bike without the help of stabilisers.

She proved us wrong. Within minutes she was peddling without stabilisers, completely balanced with no problems at all. Some children have the confidence to try and already know their strengths, whilst other children don’t always have the confidence, or perhaps it’s the parents who are a little over-protective and fail to encourage and stop their children having a go.

In my case, my daughter was confident enough to know she could ride unaided. It was us who had the doubts, given her age.


18 Dec, 2010

4 thoughts on “A parent’s doubt

  1. I was told I couldn’t do things as a child and of course I did them anyway, successfully I might add.

    The one thing I remember being told was I wouldn’t be able to have a child. I did it anyway cause I always wanted to have children and no one was going to stop me. I did very well during the pregnancy except for my eyes which is why I’m blind in my right eye now. But I accepted that anymore babies may take my life so I had my tubal, so I can’t have anymore.

    With some children and adults I think saying “no you can’t” makes them more determined. It’s like there is a determination to prove those who say they can’t wrong!

    1. Lisa, I am so sorry you were told that you couldn’t do things as a child and that what you did, you managed to do successfully. It is amazing how we find the resolve to successfully go on to do what we know we can, even if others think otherwise.

      I think you’re determination to have a child, particularly as you had other problems to deal with which would have made your pregnancy particularly difficult, was completely self-less. Living without children sometimes leaves a bigger consequence and for you that will have been the right decision you were happy to make.

      I am sure if you had your time again you would still make the same decision.

  2. Growing up I had a father that was mostly absent from my life until I became a teenager and then he would always fill me with doubt and tell me that I couldn’t do this or that and a mother that also filled me with doubts of my abilities.

    It was more than ability being doubted, it was more that I was being told that I lacked resolve and wasn’t capable of finishing things and the more they said it the more I would give up. When I finally got away from them and gained some self-esteem I found that I was capable and then successful.

    I didn’t do that with my children. I told them all the time that whatever they wanted to do I was here to help them and that I had faith they could do it on their own because they were intelligent and strong, mentally and physically. My children have been very independent and successful in the endeavors they chose to take on.

    The power of positive reinforcement is key to raising a child and someone putting doubt into a child’s mind is doing the wrong thing even if they have good intentions. There is enough negativity in the world, it shouldn’t be brought into the home. Home is supposed to be a sanctuary away from the world where we all feel safe and secure.

    1. You are absolutely right in everything you say Brian. It is a shame that your parents didn’t get it right for you, but it is wonderful that you managed to work through your own negativity, to help your children achieve their own goals and inspirations.

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