We often hear how important it is to feel good about ourselves. Positive self-esteem critically affects both work and social situations. But sometimes, in raising our children, we may overlook easy ways to influence this important quality. Here are some ideas to incorporate in your parenting.
Be a good model. This would seem obvious, but to use a concrete example, how can you expect your child to wear a helmet when he rides a bike if you don’t? Similarly, when we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ our child is more likely to incorporate this habit.
Children, especially younger ones, are often less articulate than we are. If you receive a monosyllabic answer to your question, don’t just accept it but ask her to elaborate by suggesting, ‘tell me more…’ Give her plenty of time and don’t interrupt.
Parents are human – we make mistakes. When you do, such as losing your temper or saying something you don’t really mean, apologize. You won’t lose your authority but rather gain respect.
If your child experiences a disappointment or failure, instead of dwelling on it, ask what he would do differently the next time. Focus on the positive: “You haven’t completed the last few math problems” instead of “You never finish anything.”
Be appropriate! You don’t have to share everything that’s on your mind or tell him things he’s not ready to know.
Own a good book on child development to stay tuned to what is more or less normal at each age and stage. Always keep in mind your child’s unique personality and needs.
For more information about Phyllis Greenbaum, LCSW, click here.
Originally published June 1, 2015