Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them
One day a memory came to my mind: a flight from London to Finland where I live. Behind us was sitting a young English mother with her child and in front of us was a Finnish mother with her child, both children approximately of the same age.
The English mother behind us was a joy to listen to. Her child is clearly a bit afraid of flying, but she kept on talking to her in an encouraging way, making her feel important and loved. She encouraged her all the time to look around the plane, to see what was happening, never ridiculing her of being afraid. She had the patience to read from a book to her, to see how the child coloured pictures, to discuss with her about the things the child wanted to talk about. At the end of the flight the child was happy and relaxed, and was looking up to her mother with respect and love.
The Finnish mother, however, was quite the opposite. Perhaps she was tired, perhaps she was angry, but it wasn’t nice to listen to how she talked to her daughter. She was constantly blaming the child for being restless, snapping at her, and ordering her to sit still and not disturb her mother. The little daughter tried to please her mother, but nothing was enough. At the end of the flight a little, depressed child stood in front of us in the airplane, waiting to get out.
I often thought about these two children and wondered what became of them (as this happened so long ago they should be young adults by now). And I am quite certain that the English daughter grew up with a positive attitude towards life. The Finnish mothers child... well, I only hope that this little girl had other, more encouraging adults in her life.
Childhood “programming” is more important than many think. A child believes what their parents say. If the message is they are worthy and good, their lives are more likely to go along the path of self respect and trusting their own skills.
If they are led to understand they are never good enough, they easily end up not trusting they do anything right. They don't express themselves as they would like, but subdue their emotions, search for the acceptance of those "above" them, don't have the courage to do anything without specific orders, and deny a huge part of themselves.
Encourage the children around you to trust in themselves, and help them to develop their strengths. Let them face difficulties and help them find solutions to the obstacles of life, but don’t be a curling parent for them, sweeping all the obstacles away from their path.
This way they have a chance of growing up to balanced adults.