Build Your Child’s Self Esteem by Fostering Self-Reliance
Isn’t it everyone’s parenting goal to raise strong, confident children who become secure and competent adults? We recently attended a parenting session on “Cultivating Self-Reliance” featuring acclaimed parenting expert author, Betsy Brown Braun. Betsy led the audience through many different ways that we can start to lay the foundation with even our youngest children. We learned many fascinating things but here are the few that stuck out the most.
- Allow your kids to do simple tasks by themselves and to make mistakes. Let them look at the weather and choose their outfit for the day. If they are cold, they will learn that they need to take a jacket. Let them get their own snacks from a basket of approved snacks in your pantry. They are fully capable of making small decisions throughout the day, and that will build up their confidence and self-esteem. You can start as early as two - just find the right age appropriate tasks they are capable of completing. Two year olds can make their beds and put toys away, three year olds are able to wash themselves in the bathtub and brush teeth with supervision. Four and five year olds can do even more like packing their lunch and tying shoes. The outcome may not always be how you would do it, but praise the action and know that you are helping your child become more self-reliant and helping their faith in themselves! Self-esteem is an outgrowth of children working hard and accomplishing something. This helps cultivate self-reliance. When they don’t struggle, they don’t learn.
- Teach them that their thoughts are worthwhile and important. Ask them their opinions on things and really listen. Ask more specific questions that don’t have a yes or no answer. Allow yourself to wonder out loud and encourage your kids to do the same. Teach them that what they say, matters.
- We live in an age of competitive parenting. We feel compelled to over-book our kids and make sure we are filling their days with “what’s best” and with the new program that will help them with x, y and z. And it’s not always to their benefit. In a time with so many activities and distractions, remember to schedule in downtime. Kids learn in the downtime and it forces them to be resourceful. Don’t let your kids tell you that they are bored – don’t fall for it! Let them figure out what to do! As a parent, it is not your job to entertain them or make them happy all the time. “Boredom” is an opportunity for resourcefulness.
Remember that parents are supposed to work themselves out of a job. It’s our responsibility to help them gain self-esteem along the way so they can care of themselves someday.
Brought to you by the Twigtale Team and Betsy Brown Braun. For more about Betsy, check her website. If you haven’t read Betsy’s books, you should check them out! Click here for the best selling, Just Tell Me What To Say and her newer title, You’re Not The Boss of Me.
Read How To Raise Clear, Confident & Kind Girls by Twigtale co-founder and Tandy Parks, MPH.
Guest Post: Fostering Self-Reliance with Betsy Brown Braun was originally published on April 16, 2014. Modifications to style, arrangement, and linked sources were made on January 8, 2016.