“I’m proud of myself”, “I can do it”, “I’m important”, “I deserve respect”, “I’m worthy”, “I believe in myself”.
Imagine if that was your child’s inner thoughts. Imagine if nothing someone else could say or do could affect your child’s self-worth, self-esteem, or how much they love themselves. I think it’s safe to say that’s what all parents want for our children. We want our children to love themselves.
TIPS TO RAISE A CHILD WHO LOVES THEMSELF:
- Acknowledge their strengths: Focus on what they are doing well instead of what they aren’t doing well. When you focus on the good, your child will feel good, and when people feel good, they do good.
- Spend quality time with them: When you spend quality, focused time with your child you are non-verbally saying to them “you are important, you are worthy, you are seen”. Imagine how great of a feeling that gives your child. That feeling will stick with them so much longer than simply saying the words “you are important, you are worthy, you are seen” will. Making your child feel seen and important plays a huge role in building their confidence within themselves.
- Teach children that mistakes aren’t bad: It’s important that children know mistakes are essential to learning. Mistakes shouldn’t be something to be ashamed or embarrassed of, they should be something you learn from. And when our kids learn from their mistake and do their best to repair the mistake, it gives them a feeling of pride.
- Encourage their effort vs praising for their results: Support your child’s persistence along the way for the effort shown and acknowledge small successes. Doing this builds self worth and self-esteem.
- Ask how they feel about themselves when they accomplish something: Teach your child to look within for the feelings of encouragement by asking questions that cause self-reflection. So instead of saying “I’m so proud of you!”, say “You did it! How do you feel?” It teaches your child that the good feeling comes from within, not from the approval of others.
- Allow them to share their feelings: Children need to be allowed to share their feelings, good or bad, without receiving judgment from us. So even when your child has an unpleasant feeling, don’t try to stop it. Let your child express it and let them know they are heard, understood, and accepted. When their parents can love and accept them through all their feelings, they will learn to love and accept themselves too.
- Treat your child with respect: When we respect our children, they will respect themselves and feel like someone deserving of respect from others.
- Let them be the leader: Let your child lead a family activity or game, or pick out what’s for dinner. It will help them to feel valuable to the family. When children feel like that are valued, their confidence soars.
- Avoid comparison: We are all unique and special in our own way. Comparison will only make them feel less than. So instead of comparing them to your best friends kid who rarely whines, always behaves well in public, or got straight A’s on her report card, celebrate and respect your child’s differences.
- Don’t do for them what they can do for themselves: Give your child responsibility (with their abilities) to help them feel capable. For example, if you know your child can get themself dressed, give them that responsibility, or if you know your child can fix his own lunch, have him fix his own lunch. And if you’re faced with resistance from your child try a phrase like “I have confidence you can do it” or “you can do hard things”.