Tag Archives: self-esteem

How to Raise a Child with Self-Confidence, Not Entitlement

Confident KidAs far as I can tell, most parents want their children to reach launch-age fully capable of conducting their lives with responsibility and respect. When they leave the safety of their nests with self-confidence, feeling competent and resilient, with the drive to contribute positively to the world, they are ready to greet whatever comes at them. We want our children to go out into the world capable of finding success yet able to weather the bumps and storms with a strong sense of self.

Most of all we want our children to feel inspired and fulfilled in their lives, doing what they love, able to reach their potential, and in mutually respectful relationships with others. 

Does this sound fairy-tale-ish?

Especially when right now you struggle with demanding kids who seem oblivious to your requests and inconsiderate of other’s needs? 

Even though your struggles today are very real and very exhausting, this is the time, no matter how young your child is, to focus on the journey of reaching the goal of 100% authority over themselves instead of being the entitled Read more…

Empathy in Action: Nurturing Growth in Your Child

Cuddles

When parents direct their kids and tell them what they should do to improve themselves, it lands on the child as I’m not okay the way I am, instead of empathy in action.  

Q. “How can I help my 8 year old son understand that I love him just the way he is AND I want him to grow, learn and improve? He says he feels humiliated and ashamed every time I ask him to learn something new because he feels like I’m saying he needs to be better than he already is.”

A. How wonderful that your son can tell you how your requests feel to him. So many kids just cram their feelings inside, and so many parents dismiss and deny their remarks with comments like, “That’s not true. I love you just the way you are. I just want you to learn to do new things.”

That sounds logical—to the mind of an adult. But an eight year old doesn’t read it that way. 

The hard part for the parent is to listen and learn from the Read more…

What Are the Secrets that Make Children Successful?

Confident KidAs far as I can tell, most parents want to raise successful children to reach launch-age fully capable of conducting their lives with responsibility and respect. When they leave the safety of their nests feeling self-confident, competent, resilient, and have the drive to contribute positively to the world, they are ready to greet whatever comes at them. We want our children to go out into the world capable of finding success yet able to weather the bumps and storms with a strong sense of self. But, what are the secrets that make children successful?

We do not want our kids to launch with the attitude that the world owes them, they are separate from the rules others must follow, and they shouldn’t have to work hard for what they want. We want them to create interdependent relationships with others and not use their individual power to push others out of their way.

Most of all we want our children to feel inspired and fulfilled in their lives, doing what they love, satisfied with most of their choices and in mutually Read more…

How to Find Acceptance When Your Children Are Different from You

Q. I have two daughters, 12 and 10. We have a wonderful, respectful, open relationship. The older is very much an introvert, like me and my husband. She works hard academically, achieves well, and has a mind that races along a million miles per hour. She is always up to something constructive, is very comfortable in her own company.

The younger one is a quiet extrovert and wants to be entertained all the time. Academics come easily to her, and she gives up if something is hard. She seems to have little drive to do much at all. Being on her own is like a form of torture. We do a lot together as a family—board games, walks, parks, doing crafts together, cooking and eating together etc. I am strict on minimizing screen time.

I have a very hard time seeing her lie around doing nothing, watching everything I do. I feel under pressure to entertain her but want her to entertain herself. If I suggest anything for her to do alone, she says no. I don’t want her to Read more…

It’s Okay to Let Kids Quit Things
Here’s a parenting question I get often: Should I condemn or condone quitting an activity? I was fortunate enough to have this exact conversation with Jen Zamzow, PhD for her Good Housekeeping article “It’s Okay to Let Kids Quit Things.” And this is what we discussed…

Child Giving UpIt’s Okay to Let Kids Quit Things

“Q: When one of my kids was in kindergarten, he spent months begging to learn karate. When we finally signed him up, he wanted to quit after two classes. My husband and I were at a loss. Do we let him give up or push him to keep trying? we asked ourselves. And how will our decision affect him in the future?

A: In an age of intensive parenting with an emphasis on building resilience and antifragility in kids, it’s easy to panic when they want to quit something. If we let them start and stop on a whim, how will they ever learn to see things through, especially when the going gets hard?”

Good question. Read the full article HERE.

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The Power of Read more…

How to Resist the “Toughen Up Trap”

Naughty KidThe family is a nurturing ground, not a training ground. When I hear parents say, “My job is to prepare him to deal with the real world. People out there aren’t going to care how he feels about what he has to do,” I hear a justification for traditional, authoritarian parenting, and I want to counter it to expose the moving parts.

This all-too-common argument about the responsibility of parents offers license to the threats, punishments, and blame that get dished out, and has forever been dished out, to ensure children’s compliance to what the parents want. When the adults in that family have been brought up under similar punitive tactics, those adults must justify the reasoning behind those tactics. To carry on with the same methods hated and dreaded by those adults as children, they must create a belief in their ultimate worth. “It’s for your own good.”

Mom Yelling

What good comes of authoritarian coercion? Answer: The continuation of this way of raising children. This is called generational trauma as patterns of parenting pass on through the generations and allow Read more…

8 Steps of a True Apology

SorryIt’s really easy to get down on yourself for behaving regretfully toward your child. What’s hard is forgiving yourself because you’re human and making amends. 

Repairing mistakes is one of the best skills you can teach your child. Isn’t this what we want them to be able to do? Repairing, apologizing, owning up and being accountable for your behavior is the sign of a strong, responsible person—exactly what you want your child to become.

But it’s hard for many parents to own mistakes and make repairs. When you have learned through your childhood that apologizing, showing vulnerability by admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness, it is hard to do it with your child. It can feel like admitting defeat, losing authority, giving in. But the opposite is true.

Coming down off a righteous pedestal to apologize, to say I see it differently now and wish I hadn’t said what I did, to admit wrong-doing, is not backing down or being inconsistent and wishy-washy. On the contrary, it is the powerful thing to do.

Mom apologizingVulnerability does not equal weakness. Vulnerability Read more…

Why Building Connection Early Can Save Battles with Teens

 

Mom and Son

I often read Meghan Leahy’s advice in her column On Parenting for The Washington Post. I saw this headline, How do I connect with my teen son while respecting his independence, and had to read what she would say to this mom. After all, this is totally my wheelhouse. She said it so well that I wanted to share it with you. I hope that parents of little children read it as well. Focus on connection shouldn’t wait for the teen years. 

I work with so many parents of teens who were able to get them to do what they were told as younger children. These parents thought they were doing the right thing, but controlling, coercive methods of parenting—like time outs, threats, removing favorite things, grounding—tend to backfire when the child reaches the age of realization that they don’t have to do what they’re told anymore. They can even switch their allegiance from annoying parents to peer groups.

To be the parent your kids still look to for support and guidance, connection and problem solving rather than threats, blame Read more…

How to Stop Reacting in the Heat of the Moment

Mom's On The Phone!

We all know what it’s like to get our buttons pushed. It feels like an attack and a flooding of emotion. We tend to retaliate automatically—it’s that fight, flight or freeze reaction. Typically, we lay blame on our children for doing the pushing or ourselves for being inadequate. But seldom do we do anything to change this often damaging dynamic because it feels beyond control.

You’ve tried everything, right? Everything to get your children to change. But those buttons are our responsibility, not our children’s. They wouldn’t be pushing them if there were no button to push. Some parents, for instance, have an immediate reaction to being called “stupid”. Others do not. Why? Because it has to do with your individual past. Yes, your child needs to be accountable for her behavior, but if your button is pushed, you will react, teaching her the power of what did the pushing—calling you “stupid”, talking back, resisting, not listening, whatever triggers you. And so it continues.

Getting a button pushed is painful. Your child’s behavior triggers an old wound and you “go Read more…

Helping Children Confront A Bully

Bullied ChildQ. Ines, 8, is a very sweet playing, sporty, capable but gentle friend. On the playground one of her better friends at school is starting to bully her. Tonight she was crying as the girl was telling her to go into a dark shed in the playground. Ines said she didn’t want to as she was afraid of the dark. The friend teased her for being a cry baby and insisted etc. My question is what do I do? I encouraged her to say STOP! and that you don’t like the way she is treating you, but she says that is not kind and she doesn’t want to be like her friend. I said to her that she needs to say stop for her friend’s sake too. She ‘practiced’ saying it but sounded like a mouse… that’s not going to transmit a message of strength. She’s going to a party tomorrow and this friend will be there. Ines is afraid that this girl will insist that the room be dark. I know the parents well and could talk to them Read more…