Parenting is no easy task. There is so much to do, so much to be concerned about. “Am I raising my children good enough?” “Should I enforce more rules on them?” “Am I punishing them too harshly?” The worries of whether we are being good parents go on and on. Unfortunately, all you can do is your very best. The best advice given to me was from a nurse after all first son was born, and that was simply to Always love him with all your heart.
There is one area of parenting that you should indeed feel extra concerned about, and with good reason. I am talking about enhancing your child's self image, building their self esteem, making them feel good about themselves.
There is nothing more valuable and more important as a parent's duty then to make sure that your child know that he or she is loved, valued, and overall important. A child who grows up with these constant messages of confidence will grow up with a strong and healthy self image.
As a parent, you cannot compromise when it comes to giving your children verbal and emotional feedback about their self-worth. He needs to hear from you again and again that he is accepted. He needs to know deep down inside that he is totally loved, regardless of his weaknesses, personality, appearance, and interests. You need to encourage your child to feel good about himself and his capabilities.
On the other hand, please do not confuse the above advice with disciplining your children. By going the extra mile to build your child's self esteem it does not mean that you shouldn't show anger and disappointment when he misbehaves.
Part of parenting is disciplining children when they misbehave. Parents should set certain limits while telling the children what they expect of them. By setting limits, making rules, and establishing punishment if these rules are broken, you are indirectly showing your kids that you care a great deal about them and how they act.
Now that we have reached the subject of discipline, you must know that there is a big difference between expressing disapproval of misbehavior and expressing general disapproval of a child. This is a very important distinction to make and a distinction your child needs to understand. Along with discipline should come praise whenever your child listens or does something well. Such positive discipline helps build self-esteem and confidence.
As strange as it may sound, a lot of parents have a hard time accepting their child. Perhaps due to unrealistically high expectations that obviously do not come to pass, they look at their child as a “failure” or sorts.
It is those parents themselves who may have received negative messages when they were little children, that they were unwanted, not good enough, and did not belong. And now they are unconsciously treating their children the same way. Do not do the same thing. Learn to enhance your child's self-image.
In the end it is important your child feels they have your unconditional love and that any discipline is aimed at their behavior and not them.