Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Man...Big Tie.

2010-09-13 Sponge bob tie

2010-09-13 Sponge bob tie1

{Little Man putting on his nightly "one-act play" for us--our little actor!}

Our little man is most definitely a future Thespian. He loves people and seems to feed off their energy by seeking to entertain them and make them laugh.

This is by far one of my favorite qualities about our son. He is a natural entertainer but even more so, he has a genuine love for others and wants to make them happy. At this age, he exudes confidence...yet as I watch him while he is at this very precious age ... I sometimes worry and wonder, will this always be the case? Will he always be this self-confident and self-assured? Or...Will "the world" tarnish this beautiful, bright light within him?

The Hubby has always said that the greatest gift we can give our children is confidence. One of the ways we can do that is to battle and conquer our own insecurities. This process speaks volumes to our children about how to find peace with one's self and their eternal nature. The Hubby essentially feels that providing opportunities for our children to "GROW" their self-esteem is one of our most important jobs as parents. I couldn't agree more. As someone who struggled so intensely with my own self-worth at a young age, I have seen firsthand how one's self-worth at a young age can direct their path in life {for good or bad} and determine to a great extent the amount of happiness and joy we experience in this life.

I have been reading this book. One of the chapters I found very interesting in that it has to do with raising kids with great self-esteem. The author first explains what self-esteem is...
"Children with great self-esteem are secure, strong, and independent young people who, with your help, can grow up to be confident adults....All parents want to raise children who feel great about themselves and, while there are no guarantees, there are many things that you can do to give your little ones this advantage."

She then discusses what she refers to as "vital strategies" that parents can put into practice to help their children feel good about themselves:

1. Parents are the Mirrors. We are the mirrors in which kids see themselves reflected; your children look to you to figure out who they are and how they fit in the world.

2. Watch Your Words. Parents MUST BE CAREFUL with their words. Name calling, even in jest, can affect a child for life.

3. Be Accepting. Children with good self-esteem have parents who totally accept their thoughts, feelings, and words. These children feel loved and accepted, despite their quirks or "imperfections".

4. "Grok" Your Kids.
In the book, Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein uses the word "grok" to describe deeply comprehending and accepting another. Create a safe relationship that allows your children to really share their intimate thoughts with you.

5. Pay Attention.
Provide focused attention and empathy. Be open to the unique qualities of your child. Show empathy or imagine yourself in your child's shoes will allow him or her to feel loved and cared for.

6. Respect Thoughts and Feelings. Show respect for your child's opinions even if you don't agree with them. Ask questions and listen attentively.

7. Teach Your Child to Fail.
Children with high self-esteem can see their weaknesses and view them as opportunities for growth. If you can tolerate your child's mistakes, you give him the opportunity to learn from them. Children who don't learn to lose, don't learn to win. Competition is a great opportunity for a child to take risks, rise to a challenge, learn about himself, and perform. It is an opportunity for growth.

8. Have High Standards. Studies show that children who have high self-esteem have parents with high standards and expectations of behavior and performance. You have to be careful not to push your child too hard though because children tend to measure themselves against the standards their parents set for them.

9. Teach them to Express. Teach your children to identify and express feelings. It is important to building their self-esteem. Children who are able to express their feelings are much less likely to act out in destructive ways. And remember...ALL feelings are valid, even if parents don't understand them or even accept them. You should never say to your child..."You shouldn't feel that way."

10. Be a Self-Esteem Role Model. The best way to raise a child with healthy self-esteem is to model good self-esteem yourself. Parents must lead by example. You don't have to be the perfect parent. You do, however, need to be a conscious parent who is accountable for her own emotional imperfections and who consistently shows her child that he is loved.

I found this to be great advice on how I as a parent can better show my son that he is loved and appreciated. And how I can help him cultivate his own self-worth in these early years with the hopes of him developing a deep, strong, and positive self-esteem. Something that he will most definitely need to be successful in his adult years.

And so I leave you with this one final thought on self-worth...
"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies."

~Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive



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