Friday, February 15, 2013

How Do I Support or Diminish a Child’s Self-Esteem?

Playing with gel beads which help children feel calm.

Those of us who work in the helping professions have a profound affect on the self-esteem of the children with whom we interact. 
We help build a child’s self-esteem and sense of worth by doing the following:
1.    We need to accept the children we work with unconditionally. I am not talking about accepting all behaviour; I am referring to always accepting the child. We need to separate the child from their behaviour and realize that their behaviour is not their character. The children I work with know that I care deeply for them and that I unconditionally support them.
2.    We need to learn to overlook small behaviours. Knowing what behaviours to ignore and what behaviours to focus on are important in helping children develop and learn.
3.    We need to have realistic expectations. We can hope for more, want better, but we need to be realistic in the moment. I always have positive expectations for the children that I work with, but I know that growth will happen when it happens.
4.    We need to recognize effort and improvement. We need to remember the changes that the child has gone through and celebrate any movement forward.
5.    We need to appreciate the child’s uniqueness and respect their decisions.
As parents or people working in the helping professions with children, we can diminish children’s self-esteem and self-worth in the following ways:
1.    When we have conditional acceptance or rejection, we diminish children with whom we interact.
2.    When we overact to small problem behaviours.
3.    When we have unrealistic expectations.
4.    When we accept only perfection.
5.    When we hold grudges against the child.
6.    When we evaluate the child as good or bad based on their behaviour.
7.    When we expect the worst from them.
8.    When we constantly compare them to others that we see as better.
9.    When we neglect them.
10.When we get into power struggles with them.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How Do You Raise Creative Kids?

Simple, be creative yourself. You provide the environment, role modeling, opportunities and inspiration for creativity.

1.    Live a creative life yourself. Read, do art, make crafts, schedule screen time, makeup stories, be creative with your clothes, create beautiful meals, and have fun with your children.
2.    Feed your imagination. Rearrange your living spaces, invent new crafts, have new experiences and involve your children in all the above.
3.    Play. Limit, through scheduling, screen time (t.v., gaming, internet etc.), and play board games, makeup new games, make chores into games and embrace messiness.
4.    Be open-minded. Take adventures with your children, try learning a new language, try on new ideas and beliefs.
5.    Don’t criticize yourself in front of your child for making mistakes, being the wrong size, or not being good enough.

If you live a creative life, so will your child. You are the number one factor in helping your child grow and nurture their creative mind. Research shows that children lose their flexibility, creativity and uniqueness as they age. By the time they reach adolescence, their thinking becomes more structured and fixed. But if children are raised with having parents who have encouraged them to risk and not be afraid of making mistakes, and have instilled an early love for stories, art, theatre, and dance then chances are those children will be highly creative. Children who grow up watching their parents fix things will have confidence to try fixing things themselves. They will believe that they can creative problem solve and be “handy”. Creativity comes from trying, learning, and being motivated to study, make and do. Creative children have valuable skills for life because they trust themselves to be capable.


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