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Parenting Guide Sheets
9. Building Self Esteem (2)

To return to the Series Contents Page, please CLICK HERE
Page 9A
Introducing this Page
This is the third page that considers self esteem.      
Page 7: Introducing Self Esteem
1. What is Self-Esteem and Why is it Important?
2. Signs of Low Self-Esteem
Page 8: Building Self-Esteem (1)
1. Building Self-Esteem through RESPECT
2. Building Self-Esteem by ENCOURAGEMENT
3. Building Self-Esteem by ASSISTING LEARNING
Page 9: Building Self-Esteem (2)
1. Building Self-Esteem by SIMPLY LOVING
3. Beware Going over the top with self-esteem
4. Recap & Overview

1. Building Self-Esteem through SIMPLY LOVING
a) Love is NOT passive
Most parents would say, “Of course I love my child”, but thinking it is NOT sufficient!
Children need to know they are loved. They will know they are loved when you:   
· Tell them you love them
§ Do you do this regularly?
· Spend time with them
§ Do you do this regularly?
· Always treat them with respect
§ Do you do this regularly?
· Frequently encourage them
§ Do you do this regularly?
 b) When Love is Difficult
There are times in life when, in all honesty, people sometimes find love difficult.
The following are sometimes such times:
  When your child was unwanted and the baby broke down your health
· it is difficult to overcome negative feelings, but you must
· your child is here now – you have the choice:
§ of going through life bitter, conveying it and getting the kick-backs
§ or determining to bless this child and turning being a parent into something wonderful.
  When your child suffers a severe disability
· some people immediately respond with immense protective love and cope wonderfully.
· some of us panic and wonder however we can cope
· the fact is most of us do manage when it comes to it – wonderfully.
· there may be a few who simply cannot handle it  by whatever means, and with whatever help is available.

As terrible as it may sound to those who cope, adoption or offering up your child to fostering may be an alternative – but never do anything hastily you may find reserves you never realised you had!
c) Things Love Stops us Saying
On a bad day when your child is fractious, cranky, not doing what it should, flatly refusing to do what you tell it etc., on that day don't ever say, “I don't love you!”
There will be many days when your patience is stretched, your emotions are wrung out, but there are certain things you need to determine NEVER to say:
· “I don't love you!”  
· “I hate you!”
· “I never wanted you!”
· “I'll give you away”
· “You'll drive me to suicide!”
Once you say such things you can never take them back and they plant a bad seed in your child's mind. DON'T SAY THEM!
2. Building Self-Esteem through TURNING NEGATIVES INTO POSITIVES
a) Negative Upsets
There are times when life is very stressful and not going well. Is it possible to bring good out of bad? Yes, definitely!
Example: I had a parenting group once with six young mothers in it. Within the security of the group they had started opening up, confessing to one another how they sometimes got angry and even hit their child in a temper. I sat listening to this growing catalogue of woes and eventually asked them, “Are what you are sharing totally negative experiences?” They all said they were. I asked, “Can any good come out of such times?” They looked doubtful and said no. I asked how they felt about their failures. They answered, guilty and sorry. I asked did they say sorry to their children. A couple said yes.
I said, “Stop and think about this. You've blown it with your child. Suppose whenever you get it wrong with him or her, you calm down and sit down with them and say something like, ‘Mummy allowed herself to get very angry and I'm really sorry. Will you forgive Mummy?' how do you think your child would react?” A couple of them instantly replied, “Oh I've done it and they just hugged me and said, ‘Of course.'”
“OK,” I added, can you see the good that is coming out of bad there? Your child has learned that Mummy can say sorry and ask for forgiveness, and they have learned to grant forgiveness. When you say sorry to your child you are teaching them fundamental things about life: we get it wrong, we need to say sorry, and we need to forgive. Isn't that positive?” They all looked considerably happier.
The purpose of sharing this example is simply to say that getting it wrong is not the end, and good can be brought out of it.
More than that, the good that comes, helps build self-esteem in both you and your child.
The crucial thing about turning negatives into positives is your honesty.
When you blow it – be honest about it! Acknowledge you got it wrong. Tell your child so. You are creating an open and honest relationship with them, which will encourage them to share openly and honestly with you.
This is reinforced if, when your child says sorry (and they need to be taught to do so), you state your forgiveness. This tells them that their failures do not alienate them from you. That builds security and security builds self-esteem.
Continue to Part 2 of this Page

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