It has been said that we spend the last 50 years of our lives recovering from the first 18. Our childhood experiences heavily influence our level of confidence and self-esteem. While these qualities can be increased later in life, it's much easier to get our children off on the right foot. Avoiding damage is easier than repairing it.
As a single mum of two beautiful daughters, whom I like to call Princess 1 and Princess 2, I am well aware of the impact that self esteem has in lives of my children.
When they were younger, it was easier for me to assert myself as someone who can take them to the moon and back, but as they started growing up, I found myself having to learn new ways to empower them to make their own decisions, stand up for themselves and for each other.
I always recommend getting to know your children more and understanding their love language. There is a wonderful book that I've used written by Gary Chapman "The 5 Love Languages of Children" and "The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers". Understanding their love languages will help you understand them better in that vulnerable period of growing up, so that you do not end up damaging their self esteem in the process.
Give your children a big head start:
- Show your children that you love them 100% of the time. Let your child know they're adequate exactly as they are. Withholding love because of a poor performance is among the worst options a parent can choose. It's important for a child to know they're fully supported at all times.
- Give your child control. Let your child choose their clothes for the day from several options you provide. They feel a greater level of control when they can make a few choices for themselves.
- Help your child to set goals and be successful. Whether the goal is growing a pumpkin or making the tennis team, help them be successful. Show your child that they can influence their life by making a decision and working hard.
- It's just as important to help them deal with disappointment when things don't work out according to plan.
- Teach your child to do new things. The more capable we become, the more confidence and self-esteem we possess. Help your child to feel more capable by teaching new skills.
- Younger children might need to learn how to tie their shoes, tell time, and make a sandwich. Older children might need help preparing a class presentation, studying for finals, or changing the oil in the car.
- Compliment and praise your child frequently. We all stand a little taller when we hear something positive about ourselves. Address the things your child does well. Give praise freely. The love language for my Princess 2 is affirmation. She loves to be affirmed and praised and knowing that allowed me to be a better parent by acknowledging her efforts in a way that she can relate.
- Give your child a few chores. Require your child to do a few age-appropriate chores around the house. This will teach your child discipline and self-soothing skills.
- Avoid shaming your child. As a parent you know you shouldn't do it, especially if you experienced that in your childhood.If the truth be told, I have fallen foul of this several times and if you done it before too, its not to late to start from scratch.There's no value in making anyone feel bad about themselves. You only create an enemy. Even if it's justified, leave that for your four walls at home to teach your child that an element of their behavior was incorrect at the time. That's very different than suggesting that they're a bad person. It's worth being patient and calm, especially when you find yourself in public with your child, sparing both you and them from the pain, embarrassment or shame that will be very visible on their faces.
- Include your child when addressing family issues. Listen to your child's opinion. You might find that your little one sometimes has the best solutions. At the very least, you'll boost your child's confidence and sense of importance. It is very important that they feel and know that they are able to contribute in making decisions about their lives and in family matters. Recently, we had a situation where my younger daughter had a problem at school. The three of us sat down at the table to figure out the strategy for resolving that problem. My daughter's confidence skyrocketed for being a part of the solution and not only the problem.
- Set a good example. Take care of your own needs. Be kind and patient with yourself. Treat yourself the way you'd like your kids to treat themselves. Show them how to set limits and say "no" to unreasonable requests. Even if your kids aren't listening, you can be certain they're watching. Show them what confidence and self-esteem look like. As a female entrepreneur and a single mum, I am very busy and a lot of time I need to remind myself not to forget to take care of my needs. Myprincesses also tend to be very busy with their school and after school obligations, so we make a point of carving out time to go on regular spa breaks. In this way, I am deliberately teaching them how important it is to nurture themselves now so that it becomes part of them as grown up women in their own right. That important life skill is giving them power to take part of their lives in their hands.
- Give your child attention. When you ignore your child, you send the message that they don't matter. Turn off the TV or put down the magazine while your child is trying to speak to you. Make time to pray with your child. If you truly don't have time, ensure your child understands the situation.
- Be encouraging. Children need a lot of support and encouragement. This isn't the place to be stingy.
Many child behavioral issues are tied to poor self-image and a lack of self-confidence. Giving your child the self-confidence and self-esteem needed to be happy and successful might be the greatest gift you can provide. It's never too early to start preparing your child for the future.
Whatever you do, take the process in your stride, it is all part of your Believe and Live Again recovery, bounce back and transition journey from being a “we” to becoming a “me”.
If you would like to have an informal chat about it, don't hesitate to get in touch on: +44 208 938 3672 and myself or a member of my team will gladly schedule a Complimentary Believe and Live Again Coaching Discovery session or a no-obligation 30 minute "Forgive and Let Go" consultation and together, we could be embarking upon the Believe and Live Again 5 R's journey to heal your heart, outgrow your challenges and let go of the past so that your glorious future can finally emerge.
Once again, I invite you to contact me or schedule a time to talk, call: +44 (0) 208 938 3672 (24 hours) or click on the pink "Contact" at the bottom right hand side of this page and this will take you into my "Let's Talk" contact form. Kindly complete the form and you will get a call back.
In the meantime, until next time, Keep Smiling, Keep Strong and Keep Believing.
Best Wishes and God's Blessings
Zina Arinze helps female professionals, business women, entrepreneurs and women of faith, swiftly recover from the grief and trauma of domestic abuse as well as the stigma of divorce, separation or relationship breakdown by giving them clarity for their radiant future so that they are able to transition their mindsets from “we” to “me”, reconnect to their positive of self, regain their feminine power and walk in the healing restorative power of God. A lawyer by training and armed with an MBA, Zina has over 15 years in IT Project Management Consultancy, Training and Capacity Building for both the Public and Private Sectors, she very passionate about building lasting relationships and encouraging the discovery, development and deployment of hidden talents.