Post image for Self-Esteem In Children: What Is Our Role?

Most parents would never intentionally hurt their children, but unfortunately some do.

Our self-esteem and what other people think of us are sometimes at the opposite ends of the scale. If I evaluate my worth, I take into account the volunteer work I do and how others value me as their friend, relative or acquaintance. Someone speaking negatively about me has no impact on what I think of myself. I am an adult. I can roll with the punches and I think I’m a pretty good person.

Children, on the other hand, rely heavily on the opinion of others to help form their view of themselves or their self-esteem. These ‘others’ include friends, relatives, acquaintances, teachers and other school staff and parents. Another child may speak negatively in a casual manner about them and they can pretty much let it roll off their back as long as it is not considered bullying. When a teacher speaks constructively to this child they may feel disappointment but they may strive to study harder to achieve their well-earned praise. They will generally feel good about themselves.

However, when a parent speaks negatively or harshly to the child their feelings are impacted even though they might not show it and self-esteem often takes a silent blow. The parent’s words will carry more weight than the teachers, relatives or friends combined. If there were a pie chart— parents would have the lion’s share.

Because our children view us as so important and with such authority, it is our responsibility to measure our words carefully before we speak. We often say what we think in the moment rather than what we truly mean. Parents should think of themselves as the PR person for their child’s inner self, being cautious with word and phrase choices, especially when upset or in a hurry.

The next time your child breaks a plate, loses your hammer, makes a bad choice or any number of infractions that kids commit— stop and think! Ask yourself, “What do I want my child to come away with after this experience?” The answer to that question will be your guide in choosing what to say or do.

When parents do slip up – and they will – apologies should be quick and sincere. Parents who apologize must try to avoid using hurtful words at all cost in the future. Parents who continue and think a string of apologies will smooth over hurt feelings are wrong and run the risk of losing credibility with their child.

“Taste your words before you spit them out.” ~Author Unknown

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” ~Peggy O’ Mara

“A child with low self-esteem probably has a parent with low self-esteem.” ~Tinker

What do you think about children’s self-esteem and apologies?

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Kim Davies Under Flicker/CC License Original .

Jackie Saulmon Ramirez has served as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Find her blog here contact page.

{ 0 comments }

A Mother’s Prayer

July 28, 2014
Thumbnail image for A Mother’s Prayer

“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.” –Elizabeth Gilbert I know Ms. Gilbert said that as a personal incentive to create the life she wanted for herself but when I read it with a mom’s perspective it takes on a whole new meaning. As moms we must participate relentlessly in […]

Read the full article →

Decisions, Decisions: 5 Mindsets toward Making Your Best Choice

July 16, 2014
Thumbnail image for Decisions, Decisions: 5 Mindsets toward Making Your Best Choice

“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.” ― J.E.B. Spredemann, An Unforgivable Secret Should I stay or should I go? Should I turn left or should I turn right? Should I pick up the phone and call or should I just remain silent? […]

Read the full article →

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen: Celebrate Summer with Martha Stewart’s Sunshine Pops

July 15, 2014
Thumbnail image for Get Your Kids in the Kitchen: Celebrate Summer with Martha Stewart’s Sunshine Pops

The best way to raise healthy, conscious eaters is to bring them into the kitchen as early and often as possible. Not just allow them to be spectators (though that is of course fine and fun, too), but purposefully create opportunities for them to participate in cooking and baking. Most young children will naturally want […]

Read the full article →

5 Keys to Understanding our Response Ability

July 13, 2014
Thumbnail image for 5 Keys to Understanding our Response Ability

The dictionary defines the word responsibility as a state or fact of being answerable, accountable, or responsible; of being reliable or dependable; morally right or legally required. “With great power comes great responsibility.”—Spiderman In my coaching world, responsibility is akin to evolution. If we are in tune with our deepest selves we know when we […]

Read the full article →

Teens and Heroin

July 4, 2014
Thumbnail image for Teens and Heroin

Drug addiction and teens Drug addiction and teens is a very serious issue. There are multiple drugs that teens abuse, and one of the most dangerous ones is heroin. Heroin is an opiate that is created from morphine. Morphine naturally occurs in the poppy plant from Asia. Opiates are known to be very powerful pain […]

Read the full article →