The Gift of Self-Esteem

The more parenting articles I read each week, the more I begin see yet another shift in the way people view parenting.  There’s a bit of a negative spin out there right now, and has me concerned.

Twice in the last week I’ve read articles (in popular magazines) stating that we, as parents, spend too much time with our children.  We are teaching them to depend on us to meet their every need; these authors would have us believe.  We are not teaching them to become independent.

One author went so far as to say that the past focus on building self-esteem was a waste.  That we can’t, in fact, build self-esteem in our children.

It breaks my heart to read these articles.

When bullying is at a record high and children, very young children, are taking their lives because of it, how can we possibly make the claim that too much parenting is to blame?  How can we argue against setting our children on the path toward high self-esteem?

The parent/child relationship lays the foundation for how children will interact with others in the future.  Bonding with our children plays an integral role in developing trust and security.  Demonstrating empathy teaches our children to empathize with others.  Playing with them when they’re young and listening to them when they’re older shows them that we care about them, that we enjoy spending time with them, and that they are important to us.

Being there for them, no matter the circumstances, teaches them the meaning of unconditional love.

And that nonsense about our inability to help build self-esteem in our children?  Is just that: Nonsense…

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Positive Messages

“I’ve been reading a lot about praise lately.  More specifically, I’ve been reading a lot of opinions from people who seem to think that praise is a crutch.  Children should not be praised, they say, in order to avoid the trap of performing simply for more praise.  Children, they say, should do things just because and not to get a pat on the back.

I’m not judging.  I’m trying not to, anyway.

But this kind of negativity is hard to process.

I’ve spent my adult life working with children of all ages.  Children who lacked self-esteem.  Children who never felt validated.  Children who felt they could do no right.  I’ve spent countless hours building them back up, helping them find their strengths.

Imagine if someone had done that for them all along?…”

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Positive Discipline: Praise, Encouragement, & Rewards

“This is part three of a four part series on Positive Discipline (or positive parenting).  For the past few weeks we have focused on a few key areas of positive discipline.  So far we have discussed the importance of conducting self-evaluations and providing structure and limits.  Please feel free to send questions in the comment form if you are looking for more specific information.

Although there are many different ways to parent children, there are three distinct parenting styles:

Authoritative parents are firm, loving, and kind.  They provide structure and set rules, but are not overly strict.  They have reasonable expectations.

Authoritarian parents are strict, controlling, and inflexible.  They expect obedience without questioning and are often insensitive to their child’s emotional needs.  They don’t often explain or even establish rules, but always apply consequences when a rule is broken.

Permissive parents are indulgent and fear imposing their will on their child’s developing personality.  They do not set rules and do not use consequences.  They even attempt to avoid any natural consequences for fear that their child might have hurt feelings.  Although they avoid structure and limits, they often become frustrated with negative or defiant behavior.”

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