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Your Child’s Self-Esteem Evolves primarily through the quality of their relationship with you.
Because they can’t see themselves directly, they know themselves by reflection, we are in effect, mirrors to our children.The way you see them and believe in them is primarily the way they see and believe (or don’t believe) in themselves.
LEARN HOW TO BE A MIRROR THAT REFLECTS COMPETENCE & LOVE DURING THE DAILY DIFFICULT MOMENTS.
LEARNING IS MUCH EASIER…
When Serotonin and Dopamine levels are good. So what is the #1 thing that raises these??? Spending time with family & friends who support you, treat you like you are competent & make you feel like you belong. SO how do we do this during the daily trials and tribulations of parenting?
SCIENCE & PSYCHOLOGY HAVE FINALLY COME TOGETHER AND ARE GIVING US THE ANSWERS.
Cutting Edge Research Shows:
The parent child relationship is the crucial piece in healthy brain development.
Healthy brain connections, which lead to later success grow out of supportive, nurturing, and predictable care!
This type of care giving fosters self-confidence, a child’s curiosity, and creativity. It enables a child to feel safe, secure, and held in someone’s mind.
By building a secure parent-child relationship and making the most of everyday routines and experiences, children’s brain connections are wired to:
• Expect people to respond in a loving, caring manner
• Depend on other people when needed
• Recognize their importance to others
• Feel competent across developmental stages
• Behave appropriately according to their developmental stage
• Believe people enjoy being with them
• Understand how to regulate their emotions
• Feel it is safe and healthy to express how they feel
• Feel comforted and protected
• Believe people will delight in who they are and in their interests
Statistics repeatedly show that children with high self-esteem :
✓ learn faster and receive higher grades
✓ achieve more of their goals
✓ are less likely to become involved with drugs
✓ are less likely to be sexually active at a young age
At least twice a day, look them in the eyes and tell them you love them: Obviously you love your child, but do you convey it and how often? Think for a minute about when you were young. Obviously your parents loved you, but did you always feel loved?
Share with your child the happy memories about: your pregnancy – their birth – their 1st few weeks of life – when they were 2, 3 and on. You won’t believe how happy, loved and secure it makes them feel!
Put and keep two pictures beside their bed: one of them doing something they are good at and the other surrounded by family. It will instill images of being capable and loved before they fall asleep and when they wake up.
Play the – why I think your so special game: pick one member of the family, then, one by one, the other members have to say directly to the identified member the things that they think make them special. They have 30 seconds and they have to use all of it: “Joe, I think you’re special because you draw beautiful pictures, you make funny jokes, you cleaned your room yesterday.” etc.
Notice all the things they do right/ let them know you notice: “I love the way you folded your clothes.” “You were so patient when we were running errands before, thank you.”
Let your child overhear you bragging about them: “Sara is so good at math, she’s been trying so hard lately and her real talent is coming through.”
When ever possible let them make choices – don’t judge their choices unless they are unsafe: “Do you want to wear this shirt or that one?”. “I have a bunch of errands to do, do you want to come with me or stay home with Mary?” “Here’s $40, pick out the shoes you want.”
Children need praise: Use phrases like “I respect, I like, I admire, I love, I appreciate, – you helping your sister, your saying please and thank you, your being so patient, your honesty, your effort.”
Give them jobs at age 2 and up – it helps them feel significant and competent: e.g.; put napkins on the table, help unpack the groceries, help plan two days of a family vacation. – After, tell them what a good job they did and how helpful it was.
Teach them the Thomas Edison approach to failures: When trying to invent the light bulb, Edison “failed” over 25,000 times. When asked about it he responded “Failed? Today I know 25,000 ways not to make a light bulb!”
If you’re having a bad day, tell them so they don’t take it personally: “I just wanted to let you know I’m having a really bad day, I’m sorry if I’m extra grouchy, it’s not you.”
Use encouraging words: Think about when your child was learning to walk, every effort was celebrated. Don’t wait until they fully accomplish something; notice and celebrate the steps they are making along the way.
When they make good safe choices, tell them: “I’m so proud of the way you looked both ways before running after the ball when it went into the street.” “I’m so proud of the way you resisted the peer pressure to smoke.”
Point to the misbehavior not the child – A child is not bad, their behavior is: Start sentences with “I” instead of with “you”, instead of “you’re such a slob.” Say “I’m really bothered by this mess, please clean up your toys.” Instead of “ you’re impossible”, say: “I’m frustrated with all of your horsing around in the dentist’s office, I know it’s been a long time but please try to quietly read until it’s time to go.”
REMEMBER ALL BEHAVIOR THAT GETS ATTENTION WILL BE REPEATED! POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE!
EASY AND FUN WAYS TO TELL YOUR KIDS YOU LOVE THEM:
♥ Write “I love you” on a post-it, stick it in their lunch bag, school notebook, on their pillow etc.
♥ Take their hand and write “I love you” on their palm.
♥ Write them a card that says “just wanted to tell you how much I love you” Mail it.
♥ On a nice piece of paper, with a nice marker, write “I love you”, frame it and hang it in their room.
♥ Play the “I love you more than…” game. “I love you more than all the clouds in the sky, all the cabs in the city, all the balloons in the world,” etc.
♥ Buy a small light colored pillow, with indelible markers write “I love you” and draw designs on it, put it on their bed.
♥ Every night before they go to bed, tell them you love them, if you’re not home leave a note on their bed.
♥ Create a gesture, tell your child it means “I love you”. Use it at times when saying it out loud might embarrass them.
Acknowledge The feeling:
“You feel like I don’t love you”
Believe: Spend two moments empathizing
“Awe, no matter how much I tell you I love you, when I’m nursing Zack you feel like I don’t love you. That must feel so horrible.”
Cope: How do we make it better
“What can we do so you feel loved when I’m feeding Zach? (if child has no ideas, suggest a few, have your child pick one or two) Next time when feeding Zach ask how it’s working and how your child is feeling. Encourage expression of feelings”
Try to respond to the MEANING behind the words.
CHILD – “I don’t have to put away my toys because you love Zack more.”
PARENT – “l know your feeling sad and left out and I’m helping you with that, but you know the rule, you may not go onto another activity until your toys are put away.”
Helping your child with non-happy feelings does not mean giving into all their demands.
Children have both happy and non- happy feelings. When a child is expressing happy feelings it’s easy to parent. When a child is expressing non- happy feelings parenting seems much harder.
Non-happy feelings are an expression of what isn’t going well and what your child needs help with. If non-happy feelings aren’t truly paid attention to they can become bigger and bigger until they can’t be ignored any longer.
These feelings may turn into:
- TEMPER TANTRUMS
- ACTING-OUT BEHAVIOR
- EXCESSIVE CRYING
- SLEEPING PROBLEMS
- EXTREME WORRIES/FEARS
- BOWEL PROBLEMS
- STOMACH ACHES
Children have strong feelings and powerful impulses.
- They experience anger, frustration, hurt disappointment fear, jealousy etc. all the emotions adults feel.
- But children are not equipped to express their feelings in a mature, thoughtful manner.
- Children often blurt out their feelings in extremes.
“I’m really upset that I can’t stay and play more because I’m having such a good time.”
“You never let me play!”
These responses often scare or anger us. We want to make things better, so we want the bad feeling to go away immediately.
We often believe that logic can make non- happy feelings go away. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy.
In trying to rid the feeling, we often tell our children that what they are feeling “isn’t true or “isn’t so bad.” Denying or minimizing the feeling often gets children more upset causing the initial feeling to become worse.
This can begin a cycle of acting out behavior or increased internal anxiety.
BERGEN FAMILY THERAPYCHILD, ADOLESCENT, ADULT & FAMILY THERAPY
Bergen Family Therapy is a practice that is known for the commitment that each therapist makes with their patient. Those who know us are aware that we are not only ready to be there for our patients during our sessions, but between sessions as well.
Bergen Family Therapy is also on the cutting edge of emotional brain based research within the field of psychotherapy. In addition to our extensive training, experience and expertise, we all have training within the area of the newest brain research and emotional physiology, allowing us to provide the most effective forms of therapy. This combination enables us to gain an understanding into what most infants, children, adolescents and adults need and why.
Bergen Family Therapy helps parents, children and couples make lasting and comprehensive change that often brings growth into many areas of their lives.
Helping your child with non-happy feelings does not mean giving into all their demands.
CHILD – “you never let me play”
PARENT – “I know you re having so much fun and it’s so hard to stop playing, but we do have to go, once you have your coat on we can make plans to play with Madison for next week.”
“When a child is upset, angry or hurting, the last thing they want to hear is advice, philosophy, or someone’s point of view. That kind of talk only makes them feel worse than before. Most infuriating of all is when they hear that they have no reason to feel what they are feeling.
Their internal reaction to most of these responses is, “forget it… No one understands and nothing’s ever going to get better!” They are often left feeling worse than before.
But let someone really listen, let someone acknowledge their inner pain and give them a chance to talk more about what’s troubling them and they begin to feel less upset, less confused, more able to cope with their feelings and their problem.”
Quoted from “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk.”
BERGEN FAMILY THERAPY
CHILD, ADOLESCENT, ADULT & FAMILY THERAPY
The words parents use, both positive and negative, can impact children in almost every aspect of their lives. Unfortunately, as a society we are quicker to say what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Without meaning to, we often do this to our children. Sometimes we say things to them because we want to protect them, we think were helping them or teaching them a lesson or sometimes were just angry.
Common negative phrases can really hurt and destroy self-esteem, even it that’s not the intention. Here are some examples:
- You’re going to screw it up, let me do it
- Can’t you do anything right?
- You’re always messing up
- What’s the matter with you?
- Why can’t you be more like your brother or sister?
- Your so stupid
- If you don’t come I’ll leave you here
- You’re such a klutz
- I told you so
- What’s wrong with you?
- At the rate you’re going you’ll never amount to anything
- You’re impossible
- What a slob
- You never think of anyone but yourself
- How stupid can you get?
Children often evaluate themselves based on the opinions their parents have of them. When we use harsh words we plant the seeds of doubt in their developing minds. The message they can get is “you’re incompetent and unloveable, and who you are isn’t enough.”
They make children feel powerless, inadequate and unimportant.
How can you turn criticism into constructive non-hurtful statements?
You can focus on specific misbehavior. Remember: children aren’t bad – their behavior is.
Focus on Misbehavior
|"You're a slob"||"This mess really bothers me please clean it up"|
|"You're so selfish"||"I hate it when you don't call and tell me where you are"|
|"What are you, stupid? You know your report is due tomorrow"||"I feel frustrated when you don't plan your time better. I'd like you to make school work your priority"|
Helpful hint: use “I” followed by your reaction. When you use “You” followed by a noun or adjective, you are usually passing judgment.
Positive comments build self-esteem and give children the message that they are capable, lovable and that they can do anything they set their mind to. Positive statements help children to succeed. Here are a few examples:
- I’m so proud of you
- I love you
- You are special
- You do that so well
- You’re so good in math, drawing, spelling (whatever fits)
- You tried so hard
- I love you
- That was so nice how you also thought of your brother, sister, friend
- You’re very talented
- You make me smile
- G-d gave me a gift when he gave me you
- I love you!
How can we go about praising more and criticizing less?
Try to be specific:
- I really appreciate the way you helped me put away the groceries
- I like the way you put away your clothes without me asking
- I was touched by the card you made for me
- I appreciate when you water the plants, or help with the dishes
- You learned multiplication – how wonderful!
- You read that whole book – that’s terrific!
- The way you shared with your brother, sister was great
- You stacked everfything so neatly
- I’m so proud of the way you: helped your sister, cleaned your room, listened, etc
If we acknowledge the positive things they do instead of expect them they will feel proud and pleased with themselves and will continue to do positive things.
IMPORTANT: if you feel that you haven’t been focusing on the positive and you would like to change that let your child know. Otherwise though it will still feel good, they will not understand where it is cooming from and may feel tricked. Tell them honestly. An example that may help you is:
“I’ve been thinking about how I don’t tell you often enough, all the things you do right. I love you very much and I’m often proud of you and I’m not sure that you always know that, so I’m going to try to let you know”
It may feel silly at first, but believe me, every positive thing you say to your child will make them grow big and strong. Positive words will make them feel happy, secure, loved and so many other wonderful things. It will help them say no to drugs and to succeed in the challenging world in which we live. Just like water and sun helps a tree to grow strong and blossom and withstand storms.
Six Keys to Using Encouragement to Build High Self-Esteem
- Build on your child’s strengths by catching them doing something right
- Express appreciation when your child is cooperative and helpful
- Give positive support for each step along the way to achieving a goal or new behavior
- Show confidence
- Nurture success
- Tell your child you love them at least twice a day, even if they’ve been bad.
Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy L. Nolte
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn what envy is.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn to be confident.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.
If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous.
If children live with honesty and fairness, they learn what truth and justice are.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and those around them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If children live with serenity, they learn to have a peace of mind.
With what are your children living?