The way that we see ourselves, slowly becomes the way that we feel and act in the world.
Fill children with positive messages about themselves, and allow this voice to grow into an internalized voice that children start to hear even when you are not around. Choose your words carefully around children, especially when you are stressed and frustrated. We all make mistakes and say things that we don’t mean, let this be an opportunity for you to role-model saying sorry and fixing your words. It’s okay to make mistakes, but show that you can fix it.
Leave positive messages in your space, share positive messages via technology, use positive words in good and disappointing times, make sure you have said something uplifting nearly everyday. Correct children when you hear them being unnecessarily critical and harsh words with themselves. Remind them to speak about and to themselves like a friend. The relationship you have with yourself is the longest of your life, and deserves time, care and respect just as much as any relationship. Encourage children to foster a relationship with themselves, through alone time, acts of kindness, treats, kind words and emotional and psychological care.
Role-model a healthy self-relationship by:
- Taking care of your body through exercise, healthy diet, and general respect for your body.
- Making time for yourself, either as alone-time or through activities which are important to you. If you let your children disturb you in the bathroom, they will become over-whelmed parents who let their children disturb them in the bathroom. Break these cycles.
- Making time for your relationship with your partner, and not always putting your children first.
- Sometimes prioritizing things that matter to you.
- Talking about yourself kindly and gently.
- Asking for help when you need it.
- Sometimes saying no (in a nice way).
- Talking with your friends about things other than parenting or work.
- Saying what you are grateful for.
- Saying what you feel proud for doing and achieving.
- Getting children to sleep in their own bed, and not yours.
An important part of a healthy self-image is the self-belief to make choices, solve problems, make mistakes and recover, and ask for help. Encourage children to participate in as many different things as possible. Create opportunities for success, but don’t protect children from failure. When they do fail or aren’t the best at something, explain that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and some things take practice to master.