Self Esteem ;
Helping your child to feel good about themselves
We all want our children to be happy and have a healthy self-esteem .Recently I attended a short workshop run by the local children’s centre in order to help my little ones …I wouldn’t say they suffer hugely but my eldest definitely shows aspects of a child with low self-esteem. When I saw the course I did immediately think it was something worth looking into . I am writing this post in order to share some of what I learnt .
What is Self esteem;
• The internal view and beliefs we have about ourselves, our abilities and attributes.
I also learnt that confidence and self-esteem isn’t always related. You can have a confident child who suffers from low self-esteem and vice versa; a quieter less out going child who has a perfectly healthy self-esteem.
The coke can demonstration
They asked for a volunteer to come to the front of the room and asked them to stand on a can of coke …this can happened to be empty so therefore obviously crumbled under the weight of the person treading on it .They then got the same person to tread on a full can of coke …this can easily withstood the pressure being put on it . The lady leading the course then told us self-esteem is much like the coke can if we have a low self-esteem( then like the empty can) when pressure is put upon us we are more likely to crumple under the pressure and stress put upon us ….compared to the full can (which demonstrates healthy self-esteem) that can withstand this pressure much more easily.
I found this explanation to make a lot of sense as it clearly shows why we need to help boost our children.
• Unconditional love, Feeling special , Structure, Understanding, Healthy modelling ,Challenge ,Belonging.
I guess looking at that list a lot of the things seem obvious but in practice sometimes we can overlook things and get complacent.
Child with Healthy Self-Esteem is able to:
• Act independently
• Assume responsibility
• Can take pride in their accomplishments
• Can tolerate frustration
• Will attempt new tasks and challenges
• Can handle positive and negative emotions
• Will help others
Child with Low Self Esteem will:
• Avoid trying new things
• May feel unloved and unwanted
• Blame others for their own shortcomings
• Feel, or pretend to feel, emotionally indifferent
• Be unable to tolerate a normal level of frustration
• Will put down their own talents and abilities
• Be easily influenced
Emotional nourishment exercise
In our seated tables they asked for another volunteer from each table. This volunteer was asked to leave the room , they were told to think of a story to tell us and that when they came back we would be demonstrating our best listening skills. Those of us in the room were told that when the volunteers returned we were to in fact demonstrate the worst kind of listening skills e.g look at our phones , look around the room, talk amongst ourselves, fidget etc!!
This exercise was a real eye opener ……..it was actually very difficult to ignore the person as you felt so very bad !!!.The exercise served its purpose though as it made me think about the times when I’ve been distracted either cleaning, texting or chatting to others when I haven’t really been listening properly to my children .This is an area where I know I can improve and since the course I have definitely made changes to make my children feel heard and more understood.
Provide Special Attention
• Have breakfast together
• Do household jobs together
• Spend leisure time together
• Plan family events and occasions
• Play games
• Help with homework
• Talk about the day openly
Love and limits
They then talked about how children need love and limits in equal measure in order to feel secure.
• Be clear
• Be consistent
• Have house rules and routines
• Use consequences
• Work together
Have Fun Together!
Low cost or no cost activities
• Take a bike ride
• Go for a walk in the woods
• Listen to music together
• Read a book/magazine
• Do art or craft together
Summary; I know a lot of this information may seem fairly obvious but sometimes it is the obvious things that we often over look. As parents we can not easily control how our children will react to the challenges that face them day-to-day when they are away at school, but we can do our best to nurture and support them at home. It will be the little things WE do that will have BIG impact . This is ultimately what I learnt and will take away from this course .
Let me know any tips you have picked up as it’s always useful to hear other people’s experiences xxx