Discouraging Words Sprout Fragile Self-Esteem!
Discouraging Words Shame and will sprout fragile self-esteem!
Build Your Child’s Positive Self-Esteem.
As a young child growing up in the 1950s, I was very shy. My positive self-esteem was low. I lived in the country and back then play dates were non-existent. I played with my brother and I invented fun things to do both indoors and outdoors. Because, are you ready…we didn’t have TV for about the first eight years of my life! Yes, we had to be creative. But, this is beside my point. My mother’s daytime was consumed with household chores and my father worked long hours at his career as the responsible bread winner. My mother was fastidious about neatness and my father held high expectations of my brother and I academically. As you can imagine, both traits often brought out hurtful words to both my brother and myself. “Why did you make this mess?”, “Clean up your room, it looks like a pig sty!”, “Don’t track dirt in on my clean floors!”, “You need to study more to bring up your grades!”, “What happened here, you got all A’s and a C. Why wasn’t this C higher?”.
Now, I know my parents loved and were very proud of my brother and I. But, they overlooked the impact of their words. My shyness became worse. I was afraid to try things, or speak up, for fear of not being right or making the other kids laugh at me, or shaming myself and my parents. I spent most of my adult life trying to gain their approval! In the process, I missed out at a young age in developing my own self-concept.
The new school year is upon us. The pressure for kids to quote “be successful” is enormous this day in age. The pressure to succeed at sports and academics is an immense weight on our kids’ shoulders! Parents are swept into this pressure and may say hurtful words that discourage instead of encourage our kids. I know in the heat of the moment it’s not easy to avoid the trap of ‘hurtful words.’ Keep in mind that the more a child is shamed the less confident they become and the more wrong choices they may make. Kids will conduct themselves based on their life experiences and if they are shamed with constant hurtful words, how do you think they will behave towards others, including their own kids someday?
TIPS for Parents to help develop positive self-esteem in their child:
- BE PATIENT. It takes time and practice to achieve.
- MAKE A LIST of the STUFF YOUR CHILD IS GOOD AT.
- GIVE YOUR CHILD THREE COMPLIMENTS A DAY.
- REMIND your child that their body is their own, no matter what shape, size, or color it is. They should accept and love these things because they are a part of YOU and make you…you.
- When your child hears negative comments in their head, tell them to STOP and remember the things they are good at and that they are valuable and special, to the people who care about them.
- POSITIVE WORD EXERCISE. How do you want your child to feel about themselves? Happy, confident, calm, peaceful, smart, hard-working, cooperative… Cut pieces of colored paper and write each word on a separate piece and then put up around the house or their room. Each week, change the arrangement of signs. These words will become silent reminders to your child of how they can be.
- WRITE DOWN FEELINGS. When your child is feeling down, help them write a letter to a make believe child who is having a bad day also. Let your child give the other child advice on how feel good. As they write the letter, many children discover that their own negative feelings will begin to lift.
- HUGs and SMILEs. Have your child stand in front of a mirror, smile and give themselves a hug and say “I love you. You are a good person.”
- READ with your child. There is a never ending number of children’s books available that speak to self-esteem issues of shyness, bullying, anger management, positive affirmations, good values and more. Your local library can help or search online on sites such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Don’t forget your Independent Bookstores. They offer many well written books by self-published authors! Like me!
As the years passed, in my adult years, I realized that being proud of my accomplishments, no matter how small, were rewarded from within first. We all face bumps and bullies as we travel our life journeys of self-discovery. We all have dreams to follow and passions to fulfill. We can’t let the naysayers, whether parents or not, hold us back. This was my focus for creating my children’s book character, Buckaroo Buckeye™-A Little Nut with Big Dreams. It is not our ‘size’ in life that determines ‘success’. Today, ‘success’ is measured more often by physical prowess, celebrity, or wealth. My character is a tiny nut-seed that pushes on despite the bumps and bullies he meets along the way, to fulfill his passion and dream of finding his purpose and worth.
Buckaroo Buckeye™-A Little Nut with Big Dreams. A great read aloud book for parents and their children to encourage positive self-esteem, entertain, and teach life lessons. https://buckaroobuckeye.com.