It’s hard growing up in this world. Kids are exposed to violence, sex, and drugs at a young age. They’re also primary targets for marketing and advertising. How many of us have said, “Times have changed since I was a kid!”
Sadly, this world is too hard for many kids. More teenagers are depressed and harming themselves (eating disorders, cutting, suicide, etc.) than ever before. Many are having sex, doing drugs, and being violent without considering the consequences.
Our kids are also under insane academic pressure. Many are expected to take honors and advanced courses. And they’re encouraged to participate in as many extra-curricular activities as possible!
It’s hard being a kid today. And it doesn’t help that many families are falling apart. Divorce, neglect, and abuse are far too common in American homes. Sadly, home is not the save haven it used to be.
Our job as parents is to build our kids’ self-esteem. We want them to be confident and feel good about who they are. We want them to face life’s challenges with the assurance that they are loved no matter what.
Here are four simple ways to build your kids’ self-esteem:
Make it your goal to compliment your kids instead of criticize them. Tell them what you love about them. Tell them how beautiful, smart, fun, and talented they are. Compliment their strengths rather than critiquing their weaknesses.
This can be done playfully as well. When your daughters “dress up,” tell them how gorgeous they are. When they pretend to make you food, tell them how delicious it is. It may seem funny to make a “complaint,” but it’s real to them.
Call them nicknames that are positive and uplifting. It might seem funny to tease or pick on them, but how is that supposed to make them feel? Let all of your words toward your kids be kind, warm, and loving.
Affirm Their Choices
Let your kids make choices and affirm what they choose. When they pick a story for you to read, tell them it’s a great story. When they pick a snack for you to share, tell them it’s a yummy snack. When they dress themselves, tell them you love their outfit.
You instill them with confidence when you support their choices. They feel empowered to make decisions. They also feel assured that you still love them even if they make a poor decision.
Be physically affectionate with your kids. Hug them, kiss them, and hold them. Wrestle with them, tickle them, and carry them. This is especially important if you use physical discipline. Do you want their only contact from you to be negative?
Be verbally affectionate with them as well. Shower them with compliments and affirmation. Tell them you love them multiple times a day.
Spend Time with Them
This is the most significant way to impart value and worth to your kids. Nothing else that you say or do matters if you aren’t willing to spend time with them.
This doesn’t mean watching TV or reading the newspaper in the same room. This means doing what they like. Play their games, read their stories, watch their shows, and play with their toys. It also means taking them to fun places and making memories.
This will require sacrifice. You might have to turn down promotions, scale back on hobbies, or spend less time with your friends. But nothing matters more than showing your kids how important they are.
In what other ways can we build our kids’ self-esteem? Share your thoughts with a comment below!
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