Sunday, April 13, 2014

The "Ultimate" Mom: Boosting Self-Esteem

Chapter 8: How to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem 10-Fold!

This chapter really hit home this week. As we struggle with our oldest daughter Kalynn with all of the changes of starting school, a new baby, career changes and losses within the family in this past year, I myself have recognized the drop in her self-esteem. Here is what I learned:

The beginning of each chapter starts with a "diary" entry. The entry in this story talks about a young man who's self-esteem was weighing him down in every aspect of his life, home, school, friendships...and so his teacher devised a plan for a "success book" to boost his confidence. This notebook, was something that he was to write in daily, describing 3 things that went well for him. In addition to his comments, both his teacher and his parents were to write in something they noticed went well for him as well. 

I thought this was a wonderful way to encourage our children who are struggling. As they say, it is easy to remember the bad and forget the good. This guides the focus of the child and parents (and perhaps the teachers as well) to draw the focus away from constant negative. 

We have all heard that children will act out and misbehave as a way to gain attention when they are not feeling important. Sometimes, they act out in anger or just to draw your focus. By encouraging our children, we can avoid some of these moments by showing them how exceptional they are. This chapter does caution that it is important to know the difference between encouraging our children and praising them. 

Of courses praise is always important. But without encouragement, praise can become addictive and can the lack of consistency can damage their self-worth. Where encouragement shows value to who they are rather than what they do (praise) or don't do (punishment). Below are some examples of each:

* You can do it!
* You look like you are really enjoying yourself
* Look how much you have improved
* Its obvious you did your best
* You will make the best decision for you
* I love you
* I have faith in you
* I'm so proud of who you are becoming
* You really did a good job, I knew you could do it

* You won!
* Your first like your sister
* You rock

After reading this,  found that there really is a fine line between praise and encouragement. The difference that I discovered is action verses heart. And the key is knowing when to use praise vs encouragement.

Chapter Tips:
  1. Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs said, "A misbehavin child is a discouraged child" therefore, one of the best cures for misbehavior is encouragement.
  2. True encouragement means focusing on who your children are rather than on what they do.
  3. When your kids are having a "bad hair day" sometimes all they need is a good long hug.
Taking Action:
  • Choose one way to encourage your child and commit to doing it today. Write down what you will do and be sure to follow through with it.
  • Go out of your way to notice what you like about others and share it with your child.
  • Choose to leave the room or calmly state what you are feeling rather than yelling things at your child that you will later regret.

I have to admit that after reading this chapter, I recognize my role in her low self esteem and am saddened that what I thought was directing her the right way was actually hurting the situation more. a Mom that is always open to growth, I plan to put forth every ounce of myself into boosting my baby instead of the latter!

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