This is another post about self esteem to complement an earlier one.
Having self esteem or self worth is highly beneficial to a person. A person with self esteem copes with life’s knock backs far better than someone with little of the stuff. They are also more likely to accept challenge, discuss issues without taking contradictions really personally, enter into situations of uncertainty with confidence, more readily accept theirs and others’ imperfections and be motivated by their own drive rather than seeking others’ approval. Sounds good yes? So how do we ensure our children get a healthy dose of self esteem?
One of the (many) answers to this question is about making your child feel seen and heard. So often we repeat what many of our parents’ did to us: marginalise us and make us feel a bit insignificant – like our opinion doesn’t matter or worse still, that our need to be heard is an inconvenience. Attention gives our inner selves validation and those children who can’t get attention in healthy ways will resort to more disruptive ways of getting it. Children often say things that are not in the slightest bit interesting to us, but whatever they say comes from their world and they need you to acknowledge it at least or better still engage with it.
I am not suggesting your child needs to spend time with you all day long or that you need to create non-stop quality time activities. No, I am suggesting that at those times when your child wants to tell you something, most of the time you listen, show that you have heard and respond – even when they are doing something that irritates you or seems silly. There is nothing much more confirming that your existence is important than being ‘received’. This is of course, also true of adults.