Saturday, April 30, 2016

Accomplishments viewed in relation to child's unique self

Each child's efforts, abilities and accomplishments should be viewed in relation to each child's unique development and personality. Parents need to remember one of their children may be good at ballet, one good at football and another good at organizing. It's important to remember that each child's talents are different  and to help instill in each child a belief that a child can learn and succeed regardless of the child's status, personality, learning struggles or behavior. A parent first needs to believe this of each of their children in order to instill it in their children. Children feel whether their parents believe in them by the way they treat and talk to them. A way to increase the belief that every child can succeed is for parents to avoid using words that label a child. Children shouldn't be labeled shy, trouble maker etc. because labels can become expected behavior for children by the adults and the children themselves by the adult's in their lives labeling them.

A central message to ideas we have is that children respond to their external environment. If the environment is negative children can develop a negative view of themselves and their future. For example, my daughter went to elementary school with a boy that was labeled as a trouble maker and someone who wasn't very capable. He started to become a trouble maker and not put effort into his school work until the fourth grade, when the teacher this boy and my daughter had, taught the boy these other teachers were wrong.  She treated this boy like he was smart and capable and he improved in behavior and academically. Children will become what is expected of them. If children have a negative environment, they will see themselves and their future in negative ways. If a child is given a positive environment, they will see themselves and their future in positive ways.

Providing a trusting environment is an important aspect of self-esteem in order for a child to develop in positive ways. Key people in a child's life-meaning parents, siblings, caregivers etc. need to meet the needs of a child so the child can trust these key people in their lives. If that trust isn't built, it can have devastating effects on the child because they've already started to learn they're not worthy of being taken care of. These children learn to mistrust people and the world. It causes them to have a low self-esteem and effects what they accomplish. So please parents, provide your children with a positive environment and instill in each of them a belief in themselves that they can learn and succeed in the goals they have.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Two fundamental ideas to affirmation

An important part of being a parent is believing in what a child can become. A belief in what children can become helps build children's self-esteem. Children need to know that their parents, caregivers, siblings etc. believe in them. Parents need to have a deep faith that their children can learn, grow, mature and develop. This faith needs be developed in children so that they know for themselves that they can learn, grow, mature and develop in positive ways. Teaching a child to have this kind of confidence in themselves and their abilities is a hard thing to do, takes many years and a parent reiterating these things over and over to their children.

One thing that parents can do to establish a belief and confidence in their children is to accept their children for who they are. Accept your children's personality, temperament, behavior skills and abilities. Every child is different and they need to be loved and accepted for those differences, not told to be someone different.

There are two fundamental ideas to affirmation. Affirmation is a statement that is declared to be true, confirmation or validated. For example, if a parent tells a child they're good at making jewelry the statement, "You are good at making jewelry," is an affirmation to the parents belief that the child is good at making jewelry.

The first fundamental idea to affirmation is valuing uniqueness. The second idea is not expecting a child to be like others.This critical view affirms each child's uniqueness and makes it important for parents not to compare children to other children in their family or other families or children in their classroom. When parents compare children to others they send the message that who the child is, is somehow wrong and not valued which causes children to feel they aren't loved-particularly for who they are. The message is sent that they need to be like someone else, whether that be the next door neighbor, the child in youth group, one of their friends or someone in popular culture in order to be someone who is liked, loved and accepted. When this message is sent it's not the child who is wrong, it's the adult sending this message to the child who is wrong.

Be your child's loudest, biggest cheerleader! Cheer them on, pick them up, dust them off and tell them to try again and support and help them in any way you can. Tell them they can do it, why you know they can do it and help them succeed! Invest in your children. Invest in their abilities, their talents and their future. It will be the best investment you ever make! It will also grow their self-esteem in a way that nothing else can or will.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Self-awareness is related to self-esteem

Self-awareness is related to self-esteem. Self-awareness emerges between fifteen and eighteen months as children begin to realize they're a separate person from their parents. Self-awareness is a part of self-esteem as children come to understand that who they are is a good person and they can feel good about themselves even though they are a separate person from their parents and siblings and have different talents.

During the toddler years children develop a sense of their separateness to their environment and others. It's also during this time frame that children sense their ability to influence others and their environment. Toddlers realize they can cry and get the attention of their parents or a sibling, they can reach for someone when they need them, and eventually can move to whoever they want to go see. Toddlers start to realize and understand they can be in the living room while their parents can be in the kitchen and that they are separate from their parents but have the self-esteem to know that they are all right and can get the parents attention if they need it. Toddlers also start to realize they can move objects from one place to another (example, a toy from the toy box to play with) or can move an object to another room (example, favorite toy from bed to kitchen). Toddlers then realize and begin to understand they have some control over their environment and the people in it. As children begin to develop self-awareness and understand that they can do things for themselves such as move an object by themselves, feed themselves, move from one room to another this starts to develop their self-esteem because "I did it!" and children aware they did it by themselves.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Forces of self-image

The development of self-image is a progressive tension between two contradictory forces. These forces were developed by Francis Wardle and are: the way the world views the child-meaning physical features, behaviors, temperament etc and the way the child views themselves.

The assessment of these two forces-the view of who we are and what we can do is self-esteem. Self-esteem is self-image with the added use of a child's opinion of their self-image. A child's self-image is whether they see themselves as good or bad, strong or  weak, effective or ineffective, assertive or passive. Every person has a way they view themselves in these areas and it affects the way one sees and feels about themselves.

Where the way a child sees themselves is different than the way parents, siblings or others see them is why developing self-esteem is tricky and hard. It's hard to help someone see themselves the way others do and I'm not sure it's possible. Where a child sees themselves different than others do is why it's important for parents to develop a healthy self-esteem in their children. It's why the things they say to their children and the way they treat them is important and why the statements need to encourage children and build their self-esteem, not destroy it. It's why parents need to guide children through an activity they may see as difficult, not write the activity off as something the child can't do. Over the next month or two I'll discuss self-esteem, aspects of it and how to develop a positive self-esteem in children.