We don't have to be counselors to raise a child's self-esteem. All it takes is an awareness of the importance of affirmation either through loving touch, or positive words. We all know our own self-esteem is nurtured each day by the words and touch of those who love us. It is critical for us as adults but even more critical for a child who is delicately shaping their own self-image.
A child is a work in progress. They learn to trust through consistency of experience. If you affirm and love them, they will come to believe they are lovable. In the first few years of life children learn to deal with separation anxiety, shame, self-doubt, and guilt. They desire to mimic the adult world even as they are fighting for their own self-reliance and self-trust. There is sibling rivalry and competition. Finally, as they become socially decisive they develop the tools and skills to gain independence from others, status among their peers, personal initiative without guilt, a willingness to cooperate, and a sense of pride from performance.
There are natural ways to help a child understand that "just by being who they are, they are special." This book stresses a child's goodness, not because of accomplishments, but because of who they are. All children, including the disabled and disadvantaged child, need to be told they are lovable. It's all about love - self-love, love of others, and love of God.
What are the practical things we can suggest to a child to enhance self-love? Emphasize the idea of being your own best friend, promote positive self-talk, teach them how to recognize and handle "bad days" and those inevitable mistakes, assist them in dealing with peer pressure, and encourage them not to seek "negative attention." But the most important thing we can do is to praise them for what they have learned and help them understand that things change, but they are still loved in a very special way.
Through this book you can remind a child that they are special - fantastic, marvelous, precious, sensational, outstanding, beautiful, spectacular, wonderful, awesome, remarkable, exceptional, terrific, and even magnificent. God's love comes alive through these positive words.
Written with Robert J. Butch LICSW - Actively licensed in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts
Available at www.onecaringplace.com