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Teach Your Child Self-Respect

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. Although you can take this in a totally different negative direction if you have too much self-respect, too much self-esteem, or are more or less conceited.

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 land once they reach the age of four or five.

Will they have a good personality? Have low self-esteem? Have high self-esteem? Be productive? Be over confident? As parents of newborns 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? Information for developing a baby’s personality with that of their natural born personality can be found in the resource link at the end of this article. (See *Kids Development & *Parenting; your babies personality in the resource section.)

Although genetics play a role in the way our children develop, the environment in which our children reside, the type of attention babies 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.

Preschool
Even if your preschooler has already developed his/her personality there are a few simple things you can do to help increase your child’s self-esteem. Children who receive respect will learn to have self-respect. Offering your children unconditional love is just one way children begin to feel as though they are worth being loved. There aren’t too many parents out there who don’t offer this to their children, but sometimes children don’t always understand this trait unless it is pointed out to them.

Such as when they do something wrong, “Although I have grounded you for hitting your brother (or whatever the child has done) I want you to know that I don’t believe that you are a bad person and I love you no matter what you do. It’s not you that I am upset at, it was the action that you have done that I’m upset at. EThis is important for children to understand that they are not “bad Ewhen they do something wrong. Constantly sharing with your children this simple, yet important speech will back up your unconditional love for them.

Main points to address:

  • Share your unconditional love for them.
  • Explain that a wrong behavior does not make them “bad E
  • Allow children to do things on their own.

Grades K-3rd
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 substantiated. “I can understand why you would feel that way about what your friend said, you have every right to feel that way. I remember when I was a kid and… EShare your insight about situations you may have had that were closely related to what your child is telling you.

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 don’t 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. Look him straight in the eyes with sympathy and understanding.

Main points to address:

  • Take your children’s feelings seriously.
  • Listen and speak to your child with eye contact on their level.

Grades 4th-6th
If there is one thing children begin to need as they grow it is their privacy and respect of their belongings. With society the way it is today parents have a hard time allowing children to have their own privacy and to give them the respect of their belongings. Until you do not trust your child or you have very strong beliefs that they are doing something that could cause harm to themselves or other children allow them the benefit of the doubt and have their own privacy.

Respecting your child’s belongings can begin with parents not snooping through their children’s belongings, again unless you have reason to believe that something is going on that can harm your child.

All children have special qualities they possess, perhaps they are very organized and tidy or they get straight A’s on their report cards. Expose these qualities with a treat, a dinner date or a special night held just for your child. “I’m really proud of how hard you have worked on your grades and I wish to give you a dinner date for all your hard work and being so responsible. I want to show you how proud I am of you.”

Main points to address:

  • Respect their property and privacy.
  • Find and expose their qualities.
  • Share your feelings and attention.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Character.

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