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When it comes to parenting, we’ve all read the book—or books, as the case may be. Still, even with all that excellent advice out there, nothing beats asking those direct, personal questions and having them answered for you by a parenting expert in the field.
That’s why we’re presenting to you an opportunity to share your questions and issues so we can pass these dilemmas on to our experts for answers.
Be as general or personal as you wish—the choice is yours.
What keeps you awake at night? If it’s your kids (literally) then you might be looking for sleeping tips. Is it sibling rivalry, biting, or are you worried about your child’s ability to focus? Looking for some healthy eating and nutritional tips?
Let us know what you want to know. Post your questions right here on this blog and we’ll collect them all to share with our panel of esteemed experts.
When Chloe, my twelve year old daughter was about four, she stood in front of her full length mirror admiring her reflection. When she saw me standing in the doorway, she smiled and said, ‘I love myself.’ My heart was filled to overflowing as I heard her expression of self love and I thought about how great it would be to stay little forever.
As we age, it’s often difficult to maintain those loving feelings. I’m thinking about my twenty year old who when she was seventeen, was more inclined to focus on the pimples on her face and her gangly limbs as she struggled through typical egocentric adolescent angst about what others might think of the way she looked.
Now, at age 20, Talia understands society’s pre occupation with how we look on the outside but also realizes the importance of loving her inner beauty.
Healthy self esteem is when we look at the people around us but don’t think of ourselves as any better or worse than anyone else. It’s also about loving yourself from the inside out. The kind of love that allows for age spots, acne and other imperfections. The kind of love that allows you to shine and says that you are proud of who you are.
If you believe that it is important for your child to love him or herself from the inside out, then you may be interested in the tips below:
How do you show that you love yourself? What do your children hear and see when you’re standing in front of your mirror? Do they hear you say, ‘I’m so fat. I look terrible in this dress.’ Or do they hear you say, ‘I like the colour of my shirt against my skin.’ On other occasions, do they hear you say, ‘I’m so clumsy. I’m always spilling things.’ Or do they hear you say, ‘Oops, I’ll get a rag to clean this up.’ Keep in mind that your children are listening and watching even when you think they aren’t.
Separate the Deed From the Doer
As cliché and obvious as this may sound, it is very important to remember that even when your child behaves badly, he or she is not ‘bad.’ In fact, even when he or she behaves well, try not to say that he or she is a ‘good’ boy or girl. When you are happy or proud or when you are angry or disappointed, comment on the behaviour that has made you feel this way. So, instead of saying, ‘You weren’t a good girl for mommy today,’ say, ‘When you don’t share with your brother, I feel disappointed.’
Choose Your Words Carefully
Even with the best of intentions, there are times when parents use demeaning words or label their children in a way they regret later. I am thinking of comments such as ‘don’t be an idiot,’ ‘you’re so selfish,’ ‘don’t be a loser,’ and one of the more common, ‘you’re so lazy.’ Even though we may slip up from time to time, it is our responsibility not to demean or use words that will make our children feel put down. It is our responsibility as parents not to call our children names.
Sit With Your Children While They Watch Television
Watching any program with your child is important but in relation to this topic, especially when they are watching popular programs that perpetuate society’s infatuation with botox and better bodies. Ever watched Toddlers and Tiaras? It’s a real eye opener. By watching with them, you can comment and ask questions that will help them to evaluate what they are watching and how they are being influenced. I don’t believe in forbidding or censoring most programs as this may encourage even greater curiosity and may lead to them watching behind your back.
Make Family Their Foundation
If a child feels that his or her family is working together as a team, that people care about one another, treat each other respectfully and help each other out with responsibilities, then that child is more likely to feel a sense of security and belonging. He or she will feel an overall sense of well being, loving others and will be more likely to feel good about him or herself.
Looking for more ways to encourage your child to develop healthy self-esteem? Sara has more pointers here.