A healthy self image is not something that you can
build for your child..
It is a by-product of perceptions and reactions that your child forms him/herself as a result of many varied interactions and experiences over time.
It is not the result of a child's achievements,
but rather an inner knowing
of being valued and accepted
for who they are, not what they do,
and knowing they are seen, recognized, valued and heard.
A healthy, positve self image requires that parents have an awareness about creating opportunities for their children which allow development naturally.
The importance of a healthy self image for children cannot be underestimated.
As parents we have many opportunities throughout each day to allow our children to experience a positve sense of self. We can use these moments to help them to learn, know and experience for themselves their real value.
Children present these circumstances to us each time they ask us to notice them throughout the day - and that is usually constantly!! They are seeking our awareness of them, that we see them, acknowledge them, watch them, appreciate them, appreciate them and hear them.
As we learn to verbalise our experience of them, we teach them to value us back.
As one mother pointed out -
raising your children positively is like belonging to a mutual appreciation society!
Many behavioural problems in older children stem from a negative self image.
The Importance of a Healthy Self Image -
A child wants such simple things:
- To be loved
- To matter
- To be heard
A negative self image is perpetuated and enforced within us by a negative inner critical voice.
Make the voice your child hears within a positive, loving and trustworthy voice.
Create strong, clear and consistent boundaries so that your child learns to trust and feel secure.
As parents, have the awareness to work consistently on your own sense of positive self image so that your child learns from what they see, know and experience.
Positive Self Image
We can reflect to them:
- Their worth and value
- Their uniqueness
- Their relationship to life through nature
- Their relationship to extended family
- Their sense of adventure and risk taking, their skills and talents
- Their inner beauty
Make regular one on one time with your children
Positive Self Image - Children Learn by Example
Children know that what their parents put lots of time into is truly important to their parents.
Let your children know that they are truly important to you. Tell them as well as showing them.
Children learn by example and modelling.
Show them in your relationship with your partner how to cherish another person's self image.
Model to them how fulfilling relationships create a strong sense of self image.
Make statements your children can learn from such as:
I felt really good about myself when I realised you rushed home to spend time with me".
Our strength of purpose arises out of a sense of our identity, which brings with it the power to initiate and make choices.
We spend much of our lifetime involved in this journey around self image.
As St Francis of Assisi once wrote,
"Who we are looking for is who is looking".
To help with bringing more confidence into your life - and consequently into your children's lives also, look at this website by Catherine about Life with Confidence. Catherine writes from her heart and with a wealth of experience.
Read more in this series about Self Esteem