You can read tips about kids and self-esteem until you’re blue in the face. There is no shortage of lists to help you help your kids.
But do they work?
In my experience working with educators, parents, and youth over the past twenty years, I can tell you first hand, many of these tips often miss the mark.
They leave parents more frustrated and kids that are closed down.
Because most tips to help kids build their self-esteem come from the perspective that something is wrong with the child…that they are broken.
Let’s look at this from another angle:
What if you were struggling and needed guidance in key areas of your life. How helpful would it be if the person guiding you treated you like defective goods? Would it make you feel safe? Would you feel understood? Probably not.
What typically happens when we don’t feel understood is—we put on our armor. We get defensive.
We clam up.
Today I’d like to share a simple idea to help you connect with your kids (your own or your students)—to help them feel seen & appreciated.
Let the child show up as is. If the child feels angry, let them feel their anger. Let them express it.
As parents, our first impulse is to take away our kids’ pain.
When we say things like, “It’ll be okay. Don’t cry,” or “Don’t talk that way...it’s disrespectful,” we’re actually trying to control our kids emotions for them. And this results in kids feeling defensive… AND... not getting in touch with their true & wisest selves.
If you want your child to open up to you, I recommend entering into a conversation space without an agenda or a need to fix things.
As humans we all feel safer when we know we won’t be judged. Try to be with your child in a place of non-judgement. This is not easy—especially with your own kids. Someone else’s kids? No problem. We can master non-judgement more easily (because we’re not responsible for them in the same way as our own kids & they don’t trigger us the same way).
There was a common thread throughout all of the years of my various coach trainings (and I can never hear it enough):
Treat people as NATURALLY CREATIVE, RESOURCEFUL AND WHOLE.
When I learned to hold this way of being with my clients, it transferred my way of being with my family members and trickled out to my relationships with colleagues, in-laws, neighbors, etc.
THIS CONCEPT REALLY CHANGED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER because it created more ease and flow in all my relationships.
My wish for you is to take this little idea and plant it somewhere in the garden of your beautiful heart and mind. Let it rest there for a while. Don’t put pressure on yourself to use it and have great results right away. Pay attention to where you may or may not be treating your kids as NATURALLY CREATIVE, RESOURCEFUL AND WHOLE. For now, simply become aware and trust that a shift is occurring in you.
If you enjoyed today’s idea and are interested in learning more about my personalized coaching for parents, educators, and youth click here.