‘It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.’
As I scrolled through social media last week, I saw a meme that read, “it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.” I couldn’t agree more! This led me to consider how many children struggle with self-esteem. There are ample opportunities to teach our kids how to have healthy regard for themselves. In fact, one of my primary goals as a parent is nurturing the development of self-esteem by teaching the importance of self-love. I prioritize this because children with high self-esteem have a better chance of growing into healthy and compassionate adults. Below are four important foundations. I practice them to give my children their best shot at building a strong, empowered sense of self to carry with them throughout their lives.
Lead By Example
You have to show them what self-esteem looks like. Children learn by example. There are many ways to work on your self-esteem as an adult. Try revamping your self-care routine, for instance. Self-care is not just facials and pedicures—it’s so much more. Sometimes it is getting more rest, exercising and making sure to cut off toxic relationships with people. Taking care of yourself in these fundamental ways leaves you more capable of raising children who are happy, healthy and productive. We don’t want our kids to be held back by limiting themselves because of the way they see themselves. So moms, please don’t limit YOURself. You are magnificent, and it is okay to show your children that you understand this. In fact, it is a powerful lesson.
“You have to show them what self-esteem looks like.”
Don’t Play The Comparison Game
Sometimes we think comparing our children to other kids their age will give them a push to strive for more. On the contrary, it can be quite damaging and demeaning to do that to our little ones. When we set the bar TOO high, our kids will feel like they might never reach it. As a healthy alternative, focus on meeting your child where they are today. Listen to your children’s feelings and respond with what they need. I know it’s hard sometimes. It can be tempting to tell your kids what they should be doing by bringing up other children their age. Because of messaging on social media, our kids feel enough pressure to be a certain way. They shouldn’t feel that pressure at home, too. If something needs to change, work on it together. Practice patience and kindness with your child if you can, and they will learn to treat themselves and others with patience and kindness.
Show Them Their Strengths
We all have something that we are good at. Shine a light on your children’s strengths. You are their most important mirror! One of the main ways we seek validation as humans is through our parents. Give your kids validation that they are great, they are strong, and that the sky is truly the limit. Our kind, encouraging words will take them far in life. Use a positive framework to communicate with your child. Focus on their goodness, so they can more clearly understand how much the world needs their unique talents and skills.
“One of the main ways we seek validation as humans is through our parents.”
Make Them A Priority
This one is straightforward. And listen, I know life can be hard. Burdens pile up. But your kids need to feel wanted, loved, accepted and celebrated. Take them on mommy-and-me dates. Compliment them on how amazing they are. Time is one of our most valuable resources. Let’s make sure we are giving our time to our children.
Often, our goal as parents is to make our children’s lives easier or more successful than our own. It is a pervasive and beautiful impulse to want a better life for our kids. In order to do this, we have to begin treating our children with respect. Kids will naturally have dreams and goals of their own that emerge over time. All we have to do is listen to them and they will tell us. Teach your children how to believe in themselves by practicing self-esteem today. Let’s grow confident children. If they are aware of their strengths and how much they belong as children, they will be less likely to question this once they leave the nest.★
Mary Downey is a small town girl with big dreams. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she now resides in Columbus, OH. She is married to her best friend and they have two beautiful daughters, Leah (3) and Lydia (1). Learn more about Mary’s passion for fashion, beauty, and family by visiting her blog Confessions of a Young Mom.