Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Building Your Child's Self-Esteem

Self-esteem- you can blow it at an early age with your kids. And once you do, it's nearly impossible to get it back.
We all have moments that we remember being made to feel poorly- stupid, fat, worthless, insignificant, etc. It's been said that we may not remember what someone gives us, but we will always remember how a person made us feel. And sadly, when someone makes you feel rotten, we tend to remember that the most. As parents, we need to be on guard for those moments- not to make our kids feel rotten, and also to be aware of opportunities to build their self esteem. While it's not our job to give our kids everything they want to make them happy.... but it IS our job to help them feel competent, able, intelligent and worthwhile! Here are some ways to do just that:

1.) Let them pick out their clothes. This is a tough one for me, as my Z2's tastes and mine are pretty opposite some days. But I figure as long as she's clean and appropriately covered, then if she wants to wear day glo pink and yellow with a splash of blue and she's happy, great. We won't always like each other's clothes, but I do want us to always like each other.
2.) Let them pick out birthday presents to take to parties. When we go shopping, I give them a limit, and I let them pick it out. I do give suggestions, and always follow that up with,"I know that YOU like that, but how will your FRIEND like it?"
3.) Let them make a few decisions. HARD.HARD.HARD! As a mom, my first instinct is to PROTECT MY BABIES. Well, the truth is, my babies are growing up, and if I don't let them think it through while I'm around to help them, then it might be disastrous for them come adulthood. Z1 is in fourth grade, and fully owning his decisions and rewards/consequences. Some days I'm thrilled, other days, my heart breaks for him, but all days, when he owns his decisions, I'm proud of him.
4.) Praise them when a task is completed. Do not take anything for granted- even the simplest of things. Sometimes it is complimenting their manners (using them without being prompted) or completing chores or simply treating them with the tone of voice and the respect that you would like to them to treat you with. I'm not saying it's easy (believe me....) but FINDING something to praise them about everyday will make a difference.
5.) Encourage them. I always tell my kids,"You are intelligent, handsome/beautiful, have a great heart and the ability to go after whatever you choose." Even if they fail, don't make the team or miss the grade, the fact that they are going after it is the most important thing. It's my job to help them reach for their dreams as much as I can.
6.) Special Surprises- this does not have to be big. Z2 LOVES getting notes from me in her lunch box. Z1 is deliriously happy to get cards in the mail. They both ALWAYS look for love notes when I leave for an out of town trip. Or helping them with their chores- they really like that!

And sometimes, particularly when we have had a hard day together I will stop what I'm doing, call them over and look them right in the face and say," It's been a tough day today, hasn't it... But I want you to know that I love you even more today than yesterday and I'm very proud of you and who you are. I will always love you no matter what and we can always, always, always talk it through." I can't tell you how many times that has melted the toughest of arguments- maybe not at that moment, but it the thaw does come. :-)

Yours, hoping you will tell your kiddos how much you loves them today and how proud you are that they are yours,


1 comment:

  1. Some parents are so controlling and because of that their kids would probably lose their self-esteem in the process. If you can’t let them do anything without your permission then they won’t try doing things on their own and they could even rebel against you.