Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others
posted at 10/26/2011 6:50 PM EDT
“Healthy self-esteem is a child's armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic.
In contrast, kids with low self-esteem can find challenges to be sources of major anxiety and frustration. Those who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems. If given to self-critical thoughts such as "I'm no good" or "I can't do anything right," they may become passive, withdrawn, or depressed. Faced with a new challenge, their immediate response is "I can't."
As a parent, building self-esteem is a difficult task. You can’t tell your kid they are a “great artist” from 1st to 12th grade, hang every picture on the fridge and tell them how great they are with every picture. What happens when they go to college and learn they are mediocre compared to the others at the school? I am of the opinion that building self-esteem in children is just as important as learning from mistakes.
My son signed up for basketball in fourth grade. Like all kids his age he thought he was a “great” basketball player, right up there with Bird and Jordan at the ripe old age of 10! So, the first game comes and he never touches the ball, never gets the ball passed to him and never gets to take a shot. At the end of the game his head was hung low staring at the top of his sneakers. When I got him in the car he started to cry. I asked what upset him. And he explained how upset he was at not getting the ball during the game and not getting the chance to score. So, I explained to him that if he wanted to spend more time on the court and get the ball he had to attack the boards for all the rebounds! He actually took my advice! He played like a kid possessed going after every rebound he could! In the end he doubled his playing time on the court and had the chance to take a few shots too! The transformation in his self-esteem at the end of the game was markedly changed from the previous game. But, I found offering him advice, versus praise; helped build that self-confidence and self-esteem.
My daughter came home from school one day and burst into tears. She went on to tell my ex-wife how she was made fun of because of her connected eyebrow and hair on her upper lip - she wanted to die, and never go to school again - keep in mind she's 11 or 12! Instead of being a Mother, the ex-calls me and tells me the story! So, I call a salon and make a waxing appointment for the next Saturday then I call my Mother to see if she would take her - if in the event my daughter wanted to be with another girl, I thought Grandma would be a safe bet. My daughter comes over to my place Friday night before the appointment I set up for her. I ask her what happened at school regarding her being picked on. Again she burst into tears. I calmed her and explained to her that I made an appointment to take her to a salon for a waxing – if she wanted to. I then asked if she wanted me to take her or Grandma. She said me! Saturday came, I took her to the salon - she came out with a HUGE smile and a hug for her Dad, at that point I cried for a couple of reasons. First, she felt better about herself and second, she appreciated me as her Dad.
It’s difficult, I want to help my children build their sense of self- worth and self- esteem but, I also want them to stumble and learn from mistakes. At no point do I want my kids to build themselves up by picking on others – that’s just BS. I want my kid’s to treat others the way they want to be treated and be respectful of others. I also want them to embrace themselves and except themselves for who they are – warts and all – and have a positive self-image without being arrogant or obnoxious. Of course this is all still a work in progress, I still have years to go……..lol!