Sunday, July 15, 2012

Let Their Confidence Shine - Building confidence and self-esteem



One bit of advice I give my daughter, and hope to give to my twin boys someday, is that no two people are exactly the same (not even twins). We all are wonderfully made with different traits, personalities and talents, and those differences are what makes us unique and special.
As adults this usually isn't too hard of a concept to grasp, but when we were children, a mean word from someone, or the disappointment of not being picked, or not being as smart, or as pretty, or as athletic or talented as someone was hard for us to brush off. The need for acceptance is something that follows us around our entire lives. Take the explosion of social networking for instance (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc). How many of us check to see who likes our photos and statuses? Even I am checking my blog stats daily to see how many people are reading my posts, or checking to see how many fb fans my blog page has. Deep down it's all about the need to be accepted (This is exactly what my pastor preached about at church today, so I know we all deal with these issues all throughout our lives).

So how do we build our children's confidence and self-esteem in a world where comparison, sadly, is all around us? Here are 5 tips on building confidence and self-esteem in your children: (There are many, but here are just a few)

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  1. Build your own self-confidence and self-esteem: Parents with self-confidence and self-esteem will in turn relay that to their children. A child's self-esteem is acquired, not inherited, therefore how you feel about yourself as a person and parent will reflect in how you raise your children.
  2. Give your child responsibilities: Giving children chores and duties gives them the sense that they are valuable to the family. Your child will have a sense of accomplishment when he/she completes tasks. Try a job/chore chart with rewards, or call a job "special". My daughter and even my almost 2 year old twin boys all want to vacuum. My 4 year old daughter loves to do dishes and scrape her plate into the trash when she's done eating. She also loves to do laundry and fold towels. All things, when completed, make them feel valuable and give them a sense of self-worth.
  3. Love on your kids!: What do our children want from us? LOVE! Feeling loved makes you feel wanted and important. Tell them you love them, praise them, give them your attention, cuddle/hold/kiss them, play with them, etc. I know at times our kids can seem needy...but they NEED us! 
  4. Encourage children to talk about their feelings and issues: To a child, suppressing how they feel about something tells them that their feelings are not worthwhile, therefore, they are not worthwhile. Sometimes we may want our child to "get over" something, but do you remember how hard it was to simply "get over" something when you were a child? Take the time to talk to your children about their feelings and that will boost their self-esteem. 
  5. Don't compare your child to their siblings or other children: Comparing a child to someone else will always give them the sense that they are just not good enough. We are all made differently and learn and grow at different rates. When we compare, our insecurities overwhelm us. We set standards for ourselves that we simply cannot live up to. Do not confuse this with healthy competition like in sports and such. I believe sports are a great way to build character, teamwork skills, confidence, respect, and self-discipline.
 As Christians, we try to teach our children that they are wonderfully and beautifully made by a God who loves them no matter what. He made no mistake when He made them. We embrace their unique qualities and differences and try to raise them to accept others under the same premise.

If you are looking for some great books regarding confidence and self-esteem, here are a few suggestions that were given to me by teachers. Super cute books!

 
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As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc
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7 comments:

  1. Well written and informative information. Especially liked the part of discussing feelings with young children. Young children have a difficult time understanding and relating to certain feelings that can be confusing to them. As an early childhood educator, I see many behavior problems that need to be addressed because of confusing feelings. I'll inform parents to read a story and put their child in the story as the character . This is not only fun and exciting for the child but helps them understand more about feelings.

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  2. Thanks for the comment! Love the story idea! :)

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  3. Great Job, Mandy! Love the book suggestions!

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  4. Very nice! I had a four year old girl in my class this year that would always say "I'm so stupid" or "What a dummy" whenever she did anything not perfect. After talking to her about it, I discovered that was what her mom said about herself all the time, so the little girl had learned at such a young age to talk down to herself. I discussed this with the mom, she didn't even realize she was doing it, but as mom slowly stopped, so did daughter! We often don't think how our feelings, actions and words that happen NEAR our children can sometimes have more impact on them than what we do or say directly to them.

    Another great book "Hooray for You! A Celebration of You-ness" by Marianne Richmond

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  5. Great article that every parent should read!

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  6. Thanks so much everyone! Love all the input! :)

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