Children and Kids articles catalog
 

 

How to Develop Self-Esteem in Children - By J. Bailey Molineux, Ph.D.

There are two goals that all parents should have for their children. The first is self-esteem, the sense that one is a lovable, worthwhile individual. Without it, a person cannot find satisfaction in life or relationships, especially marriages.

The second is a sense of morality, the courage to do what is morally right and refrain from doing what is morally wrong. If most parents do not instill this in their children, we would not be able to function as a civilized society.

Eugene Anderson, ED.D., George Redman, Ph.D. and Charlotte Rogers, Ph.D. in their book, "Self-Esteem for Tots to Teens" (Parenting and Teaching Publications, 1991), describe five principles for developing self-esteem in children and adolescents. The first is to acknowledge and listen to their thoughts and emotions since they are so much a part of who they are. Listening to you offspring with empathy says you care about what they think and feel. Plus it will create an atmosphere in which they will be more willing to listen to you.

You don`t always have to agree with your kids when you listen to them, nor let them do whatever they want. You can have a different view on a situation and still understand their perspective. And you may still have to discipline them even if you better understand why they misbehaved.

The second principle, which should be self-evident, is to structure situations so your children experience more success than failure. Don`t expect standards of performance which they cannot achieve. You want them to grow up with far more praise than criticism, more accomplishments than failures.

Third, give your children some degree of control over their lives. When they are younger, they can choose what clothes to wear, for example, as long as they are appropriate for the weather. Or what breakfast cereal to choose. When older, they can choose what courses to take in high school or what college to attend.

Too much control sends the message that your children can`t adequately handle their lives. Too little control sends the message you don`t care, so you must strike a balance between these two extremes and give them more freedom as they grow older.

Fourth, let your children know they are lovable and capable. Again, this is a self-evident principle. You should give your children daily expressions of affection - hugs, kisses, words of love, praise and appreciation. Think of them as cups of love which you want to fill with as much caring as you can.

Finally, model good self-esteem yourself. To me, this is one of the more important principles since you can`t give to your children what you don`t grant to yourself: self-love. Research is clear that high self-esteem parents have high self-esteem kids whereas parents who are low in self-esteem have kids who are low in self-esteem also.

There are no guarantees that if you follow these principles your children will grow up to feel good about themselves since there are factors in self-esteem development over which you have little control - their physical attractiveness, peer relations, intellectual abilities or athletic abilities, as examples. But I can guarantee they`ll have a poorer chance of developing good self-esteem if you don`t follow these principles. After all, your unconditional love and support is the most important ingredient in their mental health.



About the Author: J. Bailey Molineux, a psychologist with Adult and Child Counseling, has incorporated many of his articles in a book, Loving Isn`t Easy, Isbn 1587410419, sold through bookstores everywhere or available directly from http://selfhelpbooks.com. Copyright 2002, J. Bailey Molineux and http://selfhelpbooks.com, all rights reserved. This article may be reprinted but must include authors copyright and website hyperlinks.

 

An Exponential Idea In Giving - by Dalene Entenmann

 

Here`s an exponential idea for our time. What if, each time someone did a good deed for someone else, the good deed was paid back by paying it forward to three additional people? In turn, each day, each person, having received a good deed, did a good deed for three more people.

According to the Pay It Forward, www.payitforward.com, a movie scheduled to premiere in theaters in October 2000 and based on the novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde, in just two weeks 4,782,969 people will have been touched by the pay it forward principle. Pay It Forward tells the story of Trevor McKinney, a 12-year-old boy whose extra credit social studies assignment is to come up with an idea for making this world a better place.

McKinney comes up with an idea for a single act of goodness compounding into many acts of goodness and the pay it forward principle is set into action. "It doesn`t even have to be a big thing. It might just seem like a big thing. Depending on who you do it for."

McKinney is a fictional character who will hopefully inspire anyone meeting him in the pages of a book to practice the pay it forward principle but more inspiring are the real life kids whose simple and profound ideas of making this world a better place are put into action each day.

Clinton Hill founded Kids For Saving Earth, www.kidsforsavingearth.org, as a club for kids dedicated to peaceful Earth-saving actions. The mission of Kids For Saving Earth is to educate, inspire and empower children to protect the Earth`s environment and provides great action-oriented educational materials to kids, parents, family groups, teachers, classrooms and schools. He was taken by cancer at the age of 11 and his mother continues his idea and work on his behalf.

Craig Kielburger, now 16, founded Free the Children, www.freethechildren.org, an international children`s organization whose mission is to free children from poverty and exploitation and to empower young people to become leaders in their communities. At the age of 12, he became an advocate for children`s rights after he read about the murder of a child from Pakistan who had been sold into bondage as a carpet weaver.

KIDS Walk for Homeless Kids, www.kidswalk.org, was founded when a child, having met a homeless person and learning that many of the homeless are kids, had a vision of kids making a difference in the lives of homeless kids by creating an event to raise funds. KIDS Walk for Homeless Kids is in it`s third year of raising money to help homeless kids.

Catherine Ryan Hyde has established the Pay It Forward Foundation, www.payitforwardfoundation.com, to inspire school-age kids in realizing that their ideas can indeed change the world and provide them with the opportunities to put those ideas into action. For kids interested in making this world a better place, locally or globally, here are some steps on how to get started:

Choose a project. This can be an idea that comes from hearing about a need or encountering someone in need. It can come from conversations with your family and friends. Decide on something that makes you think, as Winnie the Pooh pondered, "and I would ask myself if there weren`t something that could be done about that sort of thing". Something that you feel in your heart needs to be improved for the benefit of others. If you feel this way about your idea, so will others. Involve others. Tell your parents, teachers, family members and friends of your idea and ask if they will be interested in helping you. Often others will have ideas, contacts and resources to add to the successful start of your idea. Involve the community. Contact local associations, organizations, churches, clubs and businesses who might be interested in helping with your idea. Write to the local newspapers and any other local publications to tell them who you are, what you are doing, why you are doing it, where it will take place and when any special events are being planned. Call local radio and television stations to let them know. Most of all, never become discouraged if what you would like to make better seems so much bigger than you. Believe in yourself and your idea. One person can make this world a better place. It is the exponential effect of giving and good deeds.



Dalene Entenmann is a professional freelance writer and has been working as a web manager/web content provider specializing in web concept design since 1997. You can visit Ms. Entenmann at Spiritual Sisters of the Internet Cafe at www.spiritualsisters.com, Newberg Kids For The Creativity and Spirit Of Kids at www.newbergkids.com and Hope and Healing webChronicles at www.hopeandhealing.com. You may email Dalene at SpiritualSisters@aol.com

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