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SOMEDAY, MAYBE 

THERE WILL EXIST A WELL-INFORMED,  WELL-CONSIDERED, AND YET FERVENT PUBLIC CONVICTION THAT THE MOST DEADLY OF ALL POSSIBLE SINS IS THE  MUTILATION OF A CHILDíS SPIRIT.

  ERIK ERIKSON

SELF-ESTEEM ?

Developing a positive self-image requires parentsí help.

Take all feelings seriously.  Donít say, "Itís dumb to feel that way. Donít let it bother you."  Instead, say, "I hear you.   Youíre really disappointed, arenít you?"

Donít dismiss fears as "silly".  It is natural for children to have fears. Listen to your childís fears. Tell him, "It is okay to have fears; Iím here to take care of you. What can we do to make you feel better?"

Praise each child for her uniqueness. Do not make comparisons between children; it will only lead to competitiveness and fighting.

Let your child overhear you say something positive about him. "Adam swam the whole length of the pool by himself."

Put your child in situations so she can see herself differently. "Molly, can you get a screwdriver and tighten this wheel on my bike?"

Find opportunities for your child to experience success. Let him make a batch of cookies or build a model or grow a plant in the garden.

Give choices; set the available options. "Do you want to wear jeans or sweats to school?" If she says "Shorts," say "Thatís not a choice, itís too cold; the choices are jeans or sweats."

Give your child a chance to figure out the answers to his questions. Instead of quickly answering, say,"Thatís a good question, Ryan Ė what do you think?"

Encourage your child to use resources. "Maybe the librarian could help us get some information," or "Your grandmother might know how to do that, why donít you give her a call?"

Encourage your childís dreams and aspirations; do not take away hope; "You want to try out for the swimming team? Thatíll be a great experience." If she doesnít make it, say, "I bet youíre disappointed, arenít you? Letís decide weíre going to practice some more and try again." 

THINGS TO SAY THAT BUILD SELF-ESTEEM

I like the way you did that.

Youíve just about mastered that!

You really make my job fun.

Keep on trying!

You are very good at that.

One more time and youíll have it.

Thatís quite an improvement.

You are learning fast.

You must have been practicing.

You are really learning a lot.

You should be proud of that work.

Thatís coming along nicely.

Youíre on the right track now!

Thatís the best ever.

Thatís the way to do it.

You make me proud.

Thatís much better!

I like the way you did that.

Youíve just about got it.

Source: Family Living Newsletter from Colorado State University

 

20 Ways To Help Your Kid Feel Great

Experts in personality theory and child development have found that certain ways of relating to children are more likely to promote high self-esteem.

Barbara Berge, Ph.D., a psychologist and child and adolescent therapist in New York, says, "To have high self-esteem a child must feel both lovable and capable. He must believe that he is worthwhile, has something to offer, and can handle himself and his environment." Self-esteem is an important factor in determining a childís ability to be creative, relate to others, and to achieve. On the other hand, low self-esteem can contribute to vulnerability to a variety of social problems including teen pregnancy, suicide, dropping out of school, and substance abuse.

Parents can help increase the odds that their children will feel lovable and capable. The following are twenty ways that parents and professionals in family and child therapy feel that parents can enhance their childrenís self-esteem.

  •  Show unconditional love
  • Make clear requests
  • Learn to listen
  • Take your childís feelings seriously
  • Validate your childís existence
  • Find something to appreciate daily
  • Spend time alone with your child
  • Allow your child to do things for himself
  • Respect your childís possessions
  • Respect your childís opinion
  • Acknowledge your childís abilities
  • Respect your childís choices
  • Teach children that they arenít only their body
  • Intervene when your child puts himself down
  • Express love nonverbally
  • Speak to your child at eye level
  • Avoid mixed messages
  • Share your feelings
  • Focus on each childís uniqueness
  • Express your anger responsibly
Source: Parents Magazine, June 1990.

 

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