When kids are young, it’s easy to see them brimming with confidence. They’re often proud of themselves for accomplishing small tasks (and well they should be!) But as we age, it can be difficult to maintain those self-love feelings.
For a variety of reasons, including an increased use of social media, many of us are more and more affected by what others think of us. But 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 you to say that you are proud of who you are.
Here are a few simple ways you can help foster that feeling of love and pride in your child.
What do your children hear and see when you’re standing in front of your mirror? Do they hear you say, I look terrible in this? 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 good 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. Comments such as you’re so selfish, don’t be lazy, and one of the most regrettable, what’s wrong with you? Even though we may slip up from time to time, it’s our responsibility not to demean or use words that will make our children feel put down. It’s 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 perfection. 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.
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, 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.