What message about self esteem are we sending our children?

Teaching character and life skills to students

We live in a culture and society that encourages us to compare ourselves to others. The media is constantly telling us that we are not as good as another because we do not look a certain way or because we do not have certain clothing or other status type items. Even people who are leaders in business many times pin their self-esteem on the success of their business accomplishments. Success might give you a temporary feeling of self esteem, but it will soon falter with your next challenge or failure.

Feelings of guilt, not liking our selves, or self talk that is not kind all have the results of worsening your self esteem. Instead when we realize that loving ourselves for who we are, not what we have or do, is a choice that every moment gives us a new opportunity to choose and to practice.

Where are you on the self esteem scale of 1-10? Do you hold yourself in very high self esteem or do you not like yourself very much? How we think is in fact a habit that we have formed, sometimes from very early on in our life. We may have developed our thinking from messages that we received from our parents or others that we have now internalized and we continue to give the messages back to ourselves. But now is the time to change the messages and we can make that choice by choosing the way we talk to ourselves.

If we have children giving them messages about who they are, separate from their outward successes or failures, that are positive, kind and loving will build self esteem. There is nothing that should be an excuse for not loving ourselves or our children. Our focus as parents and teachers is not on a failure but on the good parts of the child and the effort. If they do not get the grade they wanted, the trophy they worked hard for, or the belt (in martial arts) they hoped for, this not a sign of them not being a good person. Do not be so hard on yourself or the child.  The message we must give our child and ourselves too is that loving ourselves always starts by loving ourselves even when you do not feel so good about yourself.


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