Building Awesome Self Esteem in Kids

by Heligirl on September 5, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles,Positive Discipline

I recently read a wonderful blog post on Pigtail Pals’ website about self esteem that really struck a chord with me. The post, titled Waking Up Full of Awesome, talks about how we girls used to wake up full of awesome every day, knowing we were awesome and beautiful regardless of missing baby teeth, mismatched socks or messy hair. We loved our bodies and all they could do. We were full of ideas, dreams and creativity. We could do anything.

Then the author asks what happened. Did someone take it away by telling us we weren’t pretty, popular, beautiful, worthy, etc.? Why the hell did we believe them and let them take that away?

And what can we do to help assure our kids hang on to that sense of awesome no matter what?

This struck a chord with me because that is exactly why I sought out positive discipline – to build self-esteem in kids.

The goal of this parenting technique is developing capable young people with high self esteem. I truly believe high self esteem is in fact embracing your awesome and not letting anyone, or anything such as media and advertising, convince you differently.

I want my kids to feel awesome their whole lives.

Positive discipline is not an overnight thing or one or two actions. It’s an attitude you have to have every day. An outlook, if you will.

You have to see your children as little adults and treat them with the kindness and respect you would treat your best friend. This doesn’t mean become overly lenient. Children need to know where the boundaries are and the rules. But you can enforce the rules and hold the boundaries through kind respect, calm voice and standing firm. Express an undying belief in them every day.

Choose your words wisely. They have the power to help or hurt. Choose to help.

Talk about the bad behavior, not the child when disciplining: (“Hitting hurts people.” vs “You’re a bad boy.”).

Give your child opportunities to solve her own problems: (“When you hit him, it made him cry. What do you think you might be able to do to make him feel better?”).

Talk about what your child can do instead of what he can’t: (“That ball is for rolling inside. You can throw it outside if you like.” vs “No throwing.”).

Comment and encourage your child as she tries new things and avoid criticism (“You played so hard this game and never gave up. That’s very impressive dedication. I saw you running all over and you make a strong shot for the goal. With practice and persistence you’ll make a goal.”).

And, above all, show respect by saying “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.”

Finally, never forget that you are your child’s role model, even if you’re dealing with a teenager that is currently acting like you’re the uncoolest of the uncool. What better way to boost your own self esteem than to act the part for your kids.

Avoid self depreciating behavior and words, saying you wish you looked like or had someone else’s ANYTHING, or even being self conscious when your kids as you to try something on or pretend play.

Reach deep inside, grab that awesome 5-year-old you, and let the awesome shine. You may even find your own self esteem creeping every higher as you dance with abandon to Lady GaGa while dressed like a Disney princess.


Mama Spaghetti September 8, 2011 at 12:01 am

I am so grateful for every one of your posts because I feel like they are just the right little nudges to remind me to pay attention to how I parent and change when necessary. It’s like positive discipline for me!

Keep the hints coming. You’re making me a better parent.

Twitter: Heligirl
September 8, 2011 at 7:50 am

Thanks so much. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sometimes its like crickets here and I wonder if these posts and the time it takes to write them are being helpful. I love hearing they are. Thanks!

Kim November 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm

sweet, this is really awesome! thanks so much for sharing us this post. it’s truly very helpful.
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Shella November 18, 2011 at 5:49 am

wow, i love everything you have said here, specially about positive discipline. thank you for sharing such brilliant post.
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