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Parenting Advice Article

Self Esteem Tips for Your Kids....
and for You too!

By Susie and Otto Collins

When your child (or children) holds him or herself back or speaks in self-defeating ways, it can feel like a twisting knife to the gut.

After all, for most parents, our children are precious and special.  Even the most difficult and unruly of kids will have a space in his or her parent's heart.

So when a parent recognizes that his or her child is struggling with low self esteem, it can be a frustrating and scary.

Low self esteem contributes to relationship problems, an inability to achieve goals and aspirations and it can even lead to health challenges.

This is probably not the kind of future (or present) that you had in mind for your child. If your son or daughter has low self esteem, you probably want to do something to help.

A mistake that many parents make while trying to raise their kid's self esteem...

Too many parents simply react when they see or hear their kids putting themselves down or holding themselves back.

For example, let's say that your daughter is crying and lamenting how "fat" and/or "ugly" she is. This may not be the first time that you've heard her speak about her body and herself in this way.

Many parents would immediately want to make it all better for this daughter (or son). They might rush over, hug the child or teenager and say something like, "You aren't fat or ugly. You are so beautiful."

There's nothing necessarily wrong with telling your child how beautiful (or handsome) you think she or he is.

But when we try to fix it for our kids and attempt to wipe away the painful feelings that they're having, we really aren't helping.

Chances are, your child or teenager already knows what you think-- the trouble is, she or he doesn't believe you or agree with you.

Instead of merely disagreeing with your child's contentions that he or she is "worthless," "stupid," "ugly," "fat," or whatever the belief is, listen.

Listen to the feelings that your child is having at this moment.  Ask questions about these feelings and about any possible plan your child has to make changes.

Be sure to let your child know that you are here for him or her with support, love and open arms.

Honestly assess your own sense of self worth.
Sometimes, the bolstering we try to do for our kids comes out hollow or even contradictory to how we tend to live our own lives.

Too often, children grow up learning low self esteem by example.

No parent wants to hear that it is his or her "fault" that a child feels inadequate. But, it is quite often the case that young people take on the beliefs of their parents.

Of course, children have their own unique experiences. At the same time, the power of example cannot be overlooked.

If you recognize that your child has low self esteem, take some time to assess how healthy your own self esteem is most of the time.

All of us experience days when we feel better about ourselves and days when we feel lacking or not so good.

The point here is to acknowledge it if most of the time you perceive yourself as "inadequate," "lazy," "stupid," "ugly," "worthless," etc.

If you do, it's quite likely that your child has picked up on these beliefs. They might seep out in off-handed comments you make about yourself or they may be apparent from the way you walk, the decisions you make and the state of your life in general.

Above all, if you realize that you have been an example of low self esteem for your child, please don't bring yourself down any further with guilt or blame.

Instead, try to understand where some of your
self-defeating thinking has come from.

Get to know what fuels your low self esteem and then begin to make changes.

Sounds difficult?

It's all about habit.

If you tend to hold back from applying for promotions at work, for example, because you think you are "unqualified," begin to think differently about that promotion and about yourself.

Catch yourself when you think something like, "That job position sounds challenging and pays more, but I could never get that kind of a promotion."

In the very next moment, tell yourself this instead, "That position sounds challenging and pays more. I'd love to earn more money and feel excited by my work."

You might even tell yourself, "I have skills and ideas that would serve my company well if I were to hold
that position."

Practice this new way of thinking and set a goal for yourself to apply for the promotion on a specific date. Even if you don't get this particular promotion, know that you are closer to the improvement you seek with every self-affirming thought you have.

The more practiced you get at raising your own self esteem, the stronger example of confidence and self-respect you will set for your child.

This is possibly one of the most powerful ways that you can help him or her enjoy healthy self esteem.

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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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