Monday, December 14, 2009

Self Esteem Fluctuates in Children

Healthy self esteem is the single most important skill a child can develop to thrive in society. Simply, self esteem means being proud of ourselves. When kids feel secure "inside and outside" of themselves they can cope with life's many challenges.

When we help kids build self esteem we are teaching them to take pride of themselves, feel great about themselves, trust their emotions, celebrate achievements and to be their best "inside and outside".

As a reminder, self esteem fluctuates in children, because it is affected by their experiences, judgements and perceptions. As parents and teachers we have to be on the lookout for signs of both low and high self esteem.

There are no magic formulas for raising children with positive self esteem! However, this blog offers a guide. We must keep in mind this is a lifelong developmental process whose roots are established in early childhood.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reading List for Parents

Suggested reading list for Parents

Berkenkamp, L. & S. Atkins. Because I Said So! Family
Squabbles and How to Handle Them. Chicago: Nomad
Press, 2003.

Canfield, Jack. The Success Principles: How to Get From
Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. New York:
Harper Collins Publishers, 2005.

Durfee, Cliff. Feel Alive With Love: Have A Heart Talk.
California: Live, Love, Laugh, 1979.

Hartley-Brewen, Elizabeth. Talking to Tweens. Mass:
DaCaop Press, 2005.

Looman, Diane. Full Esteem Ahead. California:
H J Kramer, Inc., 1994.

Ramsey, Robert. 501 Ways to Boost Your Child’s
Self Esteem. Florida: Tribune Publishers, 1994.

Rogers, Fred. You Are Special. New York: Penguin Books,

Youngs, Bettie. The 6 Vital Ingredients of Self Esteem and
How to Develop Them in Your Child. New York:
Macmillan, 1991.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Simple Sixes Part 6 of 6 Reinforcing Responsibility

Simple Sixes Part 6 of 6 Reinforcing Responsibility
The most important step in creating success in a child's life is teaching them to take responsibility for their lives. We model and teach that the quality of life we are experiencing is a result of how we are responding to the EVENTS rather than the EVENTS themselves.
Jack Canfield writes about the formula E + R = O. Events plus response equals outcome. According to Canfield, what most adults and children do is when they do not get the outcome they want they blame the event. As parents and teachers we must guide them out of blaming and complaining and into taking responsibility. This is not easy for them and us!! This is not easy because we all have been conditioned to blame our neighbors, teachers, friends, bad luck, the car breaking, the weather and the economy. It is difficult to look at where the problem is -OURSELVES.
Here's an example of my blaming-- this happened when I was writing this piece for a workshop." Charlie (my dog) is bothering me to go out and I can not finish this section!" If I had taken full responsibility, I would have taken him for a long walk before I started. Then he would be sleeping and I could be typing away.
I highly recommend reading Jack Canfield's book The Success Principles as a guide.
If anyone has an example of Reinforcing Responsibility, please feel free to post it and be a follower.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Simple Sixes: A Guide for Parents Part 5 of 6 Respect their Opinions and Feelings

Simple Sixes:A Guide for Parents Part 5 of 6- RESPECT THEIR FEELINGS AND OPINIONS
As parents we must always honor and respect our children's opinions and feelings. Healthy families are careful to encourage an atmosphere where every ones personal opinions are respected, even if those opinions are not universally shared. The term we will use is called empathizing. Empathizing is communicating the understanding of someones feelings and thoughts. This appears very obvious and simple. However, studies show that children with high self esteem come from families that encourage freedom of expression. However, surprisingly enough we also found how hard it is to practice and develop this skill. It is EASY when their opinions reflect ours. When our children's opinions are radically different than ours we tend to react and judge.
Children who feel free to express themselves without fear, rejection, or extreme judgement are happier, confident, and more socially secure.
Two examples of empathizing could look and sound like this. Child says "this math problem is to hard. I can't do it, I hate math." Parent responds: "It is frustrating, huh, let's try it together!"
This shows that we are relating to the feeling of frustration.
Another common problem may be being left out in the lunchroom. Now let's empathize with that feeling. Parent says" I can imagine what you are feeling. I had a very similar experience like that when I was in school, and it made me feel the same way also, let me tell you what happened to me.
Let's try to practice and develop this skill!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Simple Sixes: A Guide for Parents Part 4 of 6

Simple Sixes: Part 4 of 6 Involve Children in Goal Setting
Setting goals fosters and enhances ownership, knowledge, skills, power, pride, organization, self-confidence and is incredibly motivating!! In order to achieve goals we need to do the following:
1. Set an attainable and reasonable goal
2. Write out the steps for reaching the goal
3. Set a time frame or make a time line
4. Check progress (evaluate)
5. Implement goals and CELEBRATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We can set long term goals or short term goals. We need to help our children set reasonable goals and remember to celebrate and acknowledge accomplishments. Children with realistic goals, along with a solid plan feel capable and their self esteem rises dramatically. Some examples of goals could be learning to ride a bike or school projects. When you go home tonight ask your child one thing s/he would like to accomplish. Then write out the steps,
Set a time frame, check progress and celebrate!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Simple Sixes: A Guide for Parents Part 3 of 6

Physical safety is so essential that without it, the development of a strong and healthy self esteem is extremely limited. Children need to develop a sense of assuredness that there are people that they can count on. A loving atmosphere is essential for all family members!!! One of the most fundamental ways we demonstrate our love for our children is by giving them a safe and secure place
that is uniquely theirs. Let's remember that we can not shield our children from all the "negative" occurrences from the outside world, thus, we must make the home a safe zone. One way we can achieve this is by banning put-downs! We see this when older children siblings put down younger siblings. You can say to older siblings " suppose you are 5 and someone called you dumb--how would you feel?"
Also, as parents we need to monitor our put downs to our children. We should teach our children that we expect them to "pull each other up" , not bring them down. When you hear the devastating words " you're dumb" label that IMMEDIATELY as a put down the INSTANT you hear it. Calling an unkind name makes a child want to continue that behavior. Remember I wrote about modeling? We need to remember to model positive speaking and behavior. Try it next time your child spills milk or tracks snow in the house.
The deeper the roots of home zone self esteem, the better equipped children are to behave in school and interact with peers. Their inner feelings and self worth will be their guides of their choice of friends. If you see that a particular friend is a positive influence on your child ENCOURAGE it!
It is so clear that this skill trickles into many facets of our children's lives!!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Simple Sixes: A Guide for Parents

Simple Sixes: A Guide for Parents Part Two of Six
Lovable and Capable:
Children need to to shown and told that we love them unconditionally. They need to be shown and told that they are capable of mastering tasks, problem solving and decision making. This is both verbal and non-verbal. Non-Verbal means "wordless messages"- you are engaging in eye contact. Other examples are a wink, nod,smile, hug or thumbs up. Let's remember that actions speak louder than words! Verbal means we are offering specific encouragement and praise. We reinforce their efforts in trying to achieve a goal. We teach and model complimenting each other. We praise them and follow up with a positive statement. For example: You can say " I like your choice of the red shorts with the yellow tank top. You are great at picking out your clothes! "
This week try to watch yourself enhance your child's feelings of "lovable and capable"!!!