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.

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