The gift of a high self esteem is a gift for life. Many parents ask me how they can make sure that their child embraces self love.
Learning to love oneself may sound very easy to teach but it is not. Our perceptions of ourselves are formed from a combination of many factors. Our innate temperament also comes into play and so how one processes relationships and situations is very often subjective.
So what can parents do to help develop this very important part of their child? The first and most important thing is for parents to model self love. I once had a three year old child ask me if their butt looked fat in their jeans. Clearly, this child was absorbing what was around her and what she was witnessing.
Be conscious about what you want to teach. Talk about it within the family home. Place value on the individual differences among family members. We all have different talents and strengths to bring to this world and those need to be recognized.
People come in all different shapes, sizes and colors but we are all human beings. Defining and discussing family values is how you begin to teach. Talk about why these things are important to you. This can help your child treat others and themselves in a kinder, more loving fashion.
Parenting each child individually can sometimes be harder than we think. Sometimes birth order or gender gets in the way of that. Make sure that your expectations of your child are not developed with only this framework in mind.
It really comes down to love; unconditional and pure love. Children who feel loved by their parents are taught that they deserve this love. They are able to grow up and develop healthy emotional relationships for life, which is really at the core of our existence.
I could write a book about this topic. It hits me very close to home. As we all know, self esteem is not something we can just “fix” and make better. Yes, we can work on our issues and re-teach ourselves in this critical area of developmental but it is not easy.
So keep in mind that everything we say and everything we do teaches our child on some level. If you do not love yourself, decide to work on yourself. Seek help, from personal resources or professional, and decide to make a change. You are worth it and so is your child.
More on this topic in future posts!