Does your child have good self esteem? I ask myself this question so many times, and have done since my babies were newly born. How do you even tell? Sometimes I don’t think you can tell, and other times it is pretty obvious.
Children are born with various personalities, some is nature and some is nurture. A LOT is nurture. As a care giver we have a huge responsibility to help these little beings and big beings figure out their self worth, and in my opinion it is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. It literally has the power of life or death. No pressure then huh?! It used to worry me endlessly, but now it doesn’t. I do everything in my power to make sure my boys have a healthy self esteem.
Self esteem is not something that happens overnight, it’s years and years of life endeavours, task failures, successes, losses, obstacles, learning, and battles. Self esteem is something you cultivate and nurture over a period of time, and the younger you start the better.
I don’t particularly have a very good self esteem but I’m working on it. Life has not often been kind to my self esteem so it hasn’t grown as well as it should have, which is why I am determined that my children will have a good sense of self worth. And I think they have.
How can you cultivate self worth in children?
Children are so impressionable from such a young age so praise is very important. It shows you care, that they did well and tried their best, and it encourages them to try again next time. I am a firm believer in praise. It goes a long way. I don’t buy into the ‘tough love’ regime, and never will. Love isn’t tough.
If my children fail, I am there telling them to try again, and again, even if its over a few days or weeks or months. Teach them not to quit, but that it’s ok to fail if we pick ourselves up and try again. Tell them that unless you make a mistake you never learn anything. Mistakes are ok, lying in defeat is not. Help them build their stamina.
Don’t do everything for your children, as tempting as it may be. Let them do things by themselves, encourage them to try, and if they cannot manage the task then tell them you will help them because they tried their best first. They will surprise you and themselves! I promise!
Teach them to write their failures in the sand and their successes upon the rocks.
Tell them you love them, often. Never let them wonder. Even if you were raised without those words do not let your children live their life never hearing them. Cuddle them. Tell them things you like about them. Tell them you love being their momma etc. Tell them. Every single day tell them! Leave them a note. Press a heart into their toast. Let them know you think about them.
If your child struggles with self esteem try a Strength Jar. This is simply a jar filled with pieces of paper, and upon these pieces of paper you get your child to write down all the things they are good at and like about themselves, and you can write them too. One you’re finished read through them weekly, and place on a shelf within reach. My boys really loved this activity and still look at them a year on!
Choose your words carefully. I know kids can drive us insane and we all get irate and say things we don’t mean but just make sure you apologise when you need too. Words can hurt but apologies are a great medicine. You are never too old to apologise. It will teach your child a good lesson in forgiveness and empathy too.
No app can replace your lap.
Read with your kids. Knowing you want to spend time with them will do their heart the world of good. Even 5 minutes a day will make the difference. It will widen their imagination too which is a very good thing!
If they ask for a cuddle give them a cuddle. If they ask for a second cuddle give them a second cuddle. If they ask for a third cuddle…get my drift? Life is too short to not give them that third cuddle. Tomorrow is not promised to anybody and I sure as hell do not want to wish I’d have cuddled my child for a third time and are no longer be able to. Hearts are breaking around this world for lost loved ones, so cherish the ones you have whilst you have them.
Teach them that we are all unique. Teach them it’s ok to be different and that it doesn’t make us less. Teach them about the importance of being kind and compassionate. Teach them to sit with the lonely. Teach them to look out for others. Teach them to help. Teach them be assertive. Teach them about mental health and self care. Teach them to be a good human being. Teach them that their best IS good enough.
Teach them that academic ability is NOT the most important thing in life.
Listen to their worries, their concerns. It may be little things, to them they are big things. When you listen to the little concerns, you validate them. This will go a long way in raising your children to never suffer in silence.
Raising children is the most important job you could have ever been given, even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, even when you’re exhausted, even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, keep going, keep learning, keep loving.