I have written in the past, that helping our children develop self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-control all contribute to the development of self-esteem. While these are critically important skills for our children to have it is equally important for us as parents. The reason for this is the effect that proper self-esteem has on our parenting and so much of our lives. It effects the quality of our relationships, our willingness to try new things, and how we confront life's disappointments. Our personal self-esteem directly effects how we behave towards others. Some of those "others" are our children. When we think about how we act when our self-esteem is either high or low, we get a sense of which direction we are traveling as parents. If we look at low self-esteem we can see the pain we can cause. Then take a look at our actions when we have proper self-esteem, and we realize how good we feel and how that translates into good feelings for our children. Diabetes makes our children feel bad enough, both physically and mentally, they don't need us adding to their burden.
When we feel good about ourselves we tend to create a positive atmosphere. Which in turn creates feelings of security, happiness and contentment in those around us. When we are feeling low or critical about ourselves we start to use power and control to make us feel better and that causes similar feelings in those we love. Sometimes it seems that life has a way of trying to lock us into a negative cycle by us passing some of our less positive attitudes to our children. When we are aware of our feelings, and understand how to manage them, we have the opportunity to stop ourselves and change the message we passing along.
When we feel good inside we always notice the good our children do and are quick to praise and reward that behavior. Behaviors that include kindness, or taking the initiative on a task, effort, or just plain using their heads. What is important is the fact that we noticed and commented on the behavior. This gives our children positive feedback. It also increases their motivation to continue that type of behavior and they may look for more opportunities to display it. Also, when we acknowledge their actions it attaches some importance to them.
Being aware of our feelings helps us not only to recognize what we expect from our children, it also helps us to enforce it consistently. Consistency shows commitment, and commitment provides a feeling of security for our children. All of this together promotes self-confidence in them. When we are emotionally strong we can give our children the chance to make their own choices and gain a sense of what's appropriate. This helps them to develop self-reliance. By assuming our children are competent but giving them a safe space to set limits, experiment and make some mistakes, we show trust and help our children to develop self-control.
Children who feel approved of, are aware of their skills and talents, are trusted and respected, are confident and independent, are children with good self-esteem. By being aware of our behavior and understanding how to manage and adapt it we give our children the proper foundation for a successful happy life.
The beauty of being a "good enough" parent is we don't have to be a perfect parent. There is room for mistakes. As long as we are doing enough things right and demonstrate our love, mistakes don't really matter nor do any harm. We can never be perfect but we can be good enough!
About the Author
Russell Turner is the father of a 10 year old diabetic daughter. After she was diagnosed he soon discovered he could find all sorts of medical information on the internet. What he couldn't find was how to prepare his child and family for living with this disease.
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