According to psychotherapist Dorothy Ratusmy, in an article on insighttimer.com “When we teach our children that it is okay to expect much of them, and if we are demanding to the point of making them accountable to our happiness as parents, then we raise children who only know value through the worth that others place on them.” She goes on to ask this question: “What happens when a child is raised receiving the message that they are in some way not good enough, not deserving, and possibly unlovable?
When we mistreat others or diminish their worth, we can create co-dependency, where by others look to us for their sense of esteem and for feelings of good enough. We would never want our children to grow up looking to others to feel worthy and receive approval.
May we realize that the pressure we place on our children for having certain standards of intelligence, beauty, competency in a specific skill or talent , and if we judge them as somehow different or less than what we would deem as good enough, we can create much damage.
According to an article by Shamitna Sergaion, on HoneyKidsasia.com, here are five ways to teach kids self-love:
Make them feel important. Nothing boosts your kids’ self-esteem more than knowing that they’re valued and appreciated. Make them feel important by having them play a role in day-to-day activities. Making decisions, joining in on grocery runs or even letting them help you with your work will constantly allow them to feel that their presence and thoughts are of value. You’ll find them wanting to willingly come forth in the future to take on challenges and believe that they can overcome them.
Compliment them the right way. How many times have you said “Aww, you’re such a pretty girl?” or “Wow, you’re a strong boy” to kids? We’ve all done it. But making surface level compliments like these can actually cause more harm than good to children’s self-esteem. Complimenting their intellect and praising good efforts (rather than just good results) builds your child’s self-worth more than you can imagine. If you tell them an A is great and C is a great effort, they won’t determine their worth based on grades. At the same time, they’ll likely strive to achieve the A with better effort. Compliments are a big part of kids’ lives. They act as a reward and assure them which behaviors are acceptable and commendable. So, compliment them, but try to do it the right way.
Ask them how they feel about themselves.Sometimes, kids need to be nudged to look within themselves and figure out how they feel about their achievements and setbacks. Ask them questions like, “How do you feel about winning that game?” This will reinforce that feeling good comes from within and not from the approval of others. It creates an avenue for them to be in touch with their emotions. They’ll begin to feel closer to themselves and to you as they show more interest in expressing. Show them how to treat themselves to something they like, to celebrate without any specific reason. Exercise self-reflection with them for a check-in on what ticks. This is how they’ll learn to give thoughtful attention to their mental health in the future.
Self-love isn’t being selfish. Explain to your children that loving themselves is as important as caring for others. We’re often taught formally to be kind and to care for others but forget to do that for ourselves. Self-love takes the form of a shield to set healthy boundaries and that’s not being selfish. So, there’s no reason to feel guilty about doing so. This will enable them to respect themselves and others, hand-in-hand. When they learn to feel loved and happy as a result, they’ll be able to spread that positivity to their relationships. Instead of being caught up in conflicts, they’ll spend less time worrying or hating others and direct their energy into being more kind and caring. That sounds like a win-win to us.
Most importantly, tell them self-love isn’t linear. Yup, that’s a tough pill to swallow. Tell kids that self-love takes time, growth and practice. It’s not a ticket to lifetime happiness. The reality is that it’s a journey and a work-in-progress. Remind your kiddos that they may not always love themselves and may even feel lost in the process. But emphasize that it’s okay and human to feel so. What’s important is learning to pick themselves up again and to move forward. Teach them to reassure themselves this way: “I don’t love myself today. But tomorrow is a new day and so, I’ll try again.
”Taking all of this self-love information into consideration and trying to implement the teaching steps into your children’s lives will ultimately help you raise a child that loves themselves enough to make good decisions including staying away underage drug and alcohol use.”
Idea Girl Company