“Helping to Develop Your Child’s Self Esteem: Building from the Inside Out”
Kickoff Speaker: Michelle Kriebel
Introduction: Parents sometimes confuse their children’s happiness with self esteem. Parents try to create happy children all the time and this does not serve them well in the long run.
It is important for children to have a good underlying core. Kids need to create their own “songsheet” or positive message, of their life. This message that plays over again in their head is greatly influenced by what they hear from their parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, etc. This is not only about our children, but we as parents are going through this as well, as far as a parenting aspect.
What is a parenting comparison you tend to make?
- social networking, cell phones, technology – we tend to ask ourselves what everyone else is doing?
- is my junior in high school taking enough AP/Honors classes – how much is too much?
- where is your child applying to college?
Specific Strategies for Building Self Esteem
Model healthy behavior
Provide choices for your child – don’t call all the shots – kids need to be empowered and in control of some things.
Encourage Appropriate Risk Taking – try new things – sports, drama, running for school office – kids need to learn they can’t always win, make the team, etc.
Set boundaries and say “NO” – kids need to see that parents are in charge.
Make positive statements before the litany of questions – “It’s really great to see you” – then be quiet and let them have a voice.
“Side Talking” – have talks with them while you are both engaged in regular activities – i.e. walking the dog, folding laundry.
Share their passions – help them to enjoy an activity where they lose track of time – doing it because they are passionate about it.
Help others together
Work! – kids have to get a sense of what a dollar is, work for a paycheck, what it means to save, how to be responsible and show up each day on time.
Let them problem solve – parents always want to rescue them and fix things. Teach children to be their own advocates.
Help them develop their communications skills – Middle School and High School students should be able to talk to their teachers/coaches and other adults.
Communicate in their way at times – try to understand and use their technology so you can be part of their world.
Challenge Media Messages
Schedule “date” time with each child – make one-on-one time with children, walk the dog, go to lunch, etc. doesn’t need to be an expensive activity.
Create traditions, routines and special times
Be there at bedtime – especially with younger children, but also as they get older bedtime may be the best time to talk.
Concentrate on strength and successes
What is a skill your child is really good at? Share your child’s most endearing traits?
Compliment internal and external qualities – internal compliments are more important than compliments that address clothes or body image.
Be demonstrative with your love – remember to give lots of hugs
Accept your child for who they are and not what you want them to be