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Teaching our children self-respect begins with the way we treat our children from the beginning of their lives. From the moment our children are born we are molding them in the direction they will ultimately embark once they reach the age of four or five.
Self-respect can be explained as knowing that you are valuable and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Self-respect leads to having positive self-esteem, which ultimately controls our success, happiness and how well we will develop emotionally throughout our journey. Having too much self-respect, too much self-esteem, can be viewed more or less as conceited.
As parents we question whether our children will have a good personality? Have low self-esteem? Have high self-esteem? Be productive? Be over confident? As parents these are just some of the questions we are interested in about our children. Would you believe me if I tell you it is all up to us parents?
Although genetics play a role in the way our children develop, the environment in which our children inhabit, the type of attention they receive and the way parents interact with their children play a much larger role on the personality and personal qualities children inherit while they are growing.
Children need to feel as though their feelings, thoughts and opinions are important to their family or those individuals around them. This will help children maintain the self-respect that they need to succeed. Listen attentively to your child’s feelings and thoughts on family matters, issues at school or situations with friends. More important is your understanding as a parent that their feelings are validated. If possible, share a similar experience you had when you were a child.
Some points to remember:
Share your unconditional love for your child.
Explain that a wrong behavior does not make them “bad.”
Allow children to do things on their own.
Take your children’s feelings seriously.
Listen and speak to your child with eye contact on their level.
When children are talking to you about something that is very serious to them, be sure to be at eye level with your child and that you have eye contact with them. If you are constantly watching the clock or other objects while they are talking they will begin to feel as though their words or feelings do not even matter to their parent, so how could they matter to someone else? Speak in the same manner when you are addressing your child about a situation that is important to him/her. Look the child straight in the eyes with kindness and understanding.