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Parenting Guide Sheets
8. Building Self Esteem (1)

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Page 8B
d) Avoiding Disrespect
The absence of respect is disrespect. We disrespect our children when we treat them worse than we'd like to be treated ourselves. Some things to watch out for:    

Not letting them makes mistakes
· give them opportunity to learn to do things themselves
· if you do everything for them you are not respecting them
· give them space to learn and learning includes making mistakes
Using guilt, shame etc. as a motivating force
· this is different from letting your child know something is wrong  
· wrong guilt only demeans and removes respect and lowers self-esteem
· guilt is a fact not a motivating force (see later pages)
Over-high expectations
· if you set the bar too high they will continually fail and feel bad about themselves
· setting some expectations makes them feel able to respect their ability
Failing to set and maintain boundaries
· inability to train/discipline indicates lack of care and concern
· failure to have boundaries of behaviour makes a child feel insecure
Making them invisible
· failure to refer to your child's presence demeans them  
· include them in some conversations (not all)
1. Think about your child. Think what physical attributes make him or her unique. Then think about all the other things you know about your child that make them unique. Write that list down.
2. Have you started teaching respect to your child (how?) and if not, how may you start doing that? Make a brief list of things you intend to purposefully do with your child to build respect a) for themselves and b) for others.
4. Building Self-Esteem through ENCOURAGEMENT
a) What is Encouragement?
The dictionary definition of ‘encourage' is:
                                               to give courage, confidence or hope to
Ask yourself, how do I feel when someone encourages me?
How do people encourage you?
They say good things about you that give you confidence in who you are and what you do.    
Encouragement is an expression of love
That expression of love then builds confidence in a child's capability
A child who feels loved feels secure. In a place of security, the self-esteem that is built in the child gives them the courage to grow, develop, learn to relate well, try new things and become responsible.
b) What is the difference between respect and encouragement?

· To respect someone is to have an attitude of esteem which may be expressed in ways that treat them as a person of worth.
· To encourage someone is to speak the truth about them to uplift them in their feelings about themselves.
c) Basic ways we can encourage our children

· Have Faith in our Child
· They need to know we believe in them
· Notice our Child's Efforts
· Learn to appreciate the little things as well as the big things they achieve
· Ensure we note and comment upon their positive behaviour
 d) What is the Difference between Praise and Encouragement?
· Praise is acknowledging past achievements  
· Encouragement is building for future possibilities
· Praise Is a Reward
· Praise is a type of reward. Children earn it because it looks back to achievement.
· They might earn it by competing and winning or being compared to another.
· Praise from a parent gives a child the reward of being valued for success.
· NB. It IS right to praise our children for good achievement but don't use that to boost their self-esteem. As we'll indicate in section 8, uncritically that can have negative effects.
Praise Uses Words That Judge

· e.g. "You're such a good daughter!" This sets a level which is not an easy thing to maintain.
· Hearing this, a child might think, "Am I supposed to be good all the time? What if I'm not good? Am I bad? Am I worthwhile when I'm not doing what Dad wants?"
· e.g. “I'm so proud of you!" A child might hear this as, "You make me look so good! You've pleased me by doing what I want:' A child might think, "What if I don't make Mum and Dad proud of me?”
What Does Praise Teach?    
· With praise, children learn to please others.  
· With a lot of praise, children believe that they must please other people. They decide this is the only way to feel worthwhile.
· Children also learn to want more and more praise. They may worry when parents do not praise. They start to doubt themselves.
Encouragement Is a Gift
· Encouragement is a gift. It isn't given as a response to success but simply as an acknowledgement of personality, character etc.
· Encouragement from parents helps children feel valued just for being
· This helps children accept themselves and feel capable.
Encouragement Uses Words That Notice

· Encouragement focuses on how a child has helped & now feels.
· With encouragement, a parent might say: "It's really good having you around helping Mummy."