Does your child understand what love means? Sure, there are many different stages of love: the dreaded “sexual desire” stage of love (which hopefully they haven’t inquired about yet), the romantic stage, the emotional attachment stage, and so forth.
Do they know the stage about learning to love himself or herself? We don’t want our kids to grow up to be ego maniacs, but it is important to teach them how to love themselves, which to us means having confidence and good self-esteem.
As we hear more and more about bullying and the awful things happening in our new technology-driven world where words spread faster than wildfire, it’s key to teach our children how to rise above and have the self-confidence to be happy with who they are.
Here are a few tips to help teach your child how to love himself or herself:
- Lead by Example: Across the board, we should always be doing this when teaching our children anything (eating healthy, exercising, etc.), but especially when teaching them love. Showing them you are comfortable in your skin and taking time for yourself teaches them that you are a priority and they will follow suit learning that they are a priority. Here’s a great article discussing this point.
- Take Them Seriously. There’s nothing more frustrating for a child than not being taken seriously as they are developing more emotions. Help them navigate through their emotions and tell them it’s ok to have these emotions. Don’t tell them things like “it’s not bad” as it makes them feel like their emotions are not important, and they are!
- Become a Broken Record. Continue to tell them how much you love them. Children thrive on repetition and need to hear these words spoken to them and to others, especially in times when they may not feel it’s true, but it is.
- Teach Differences and Promote Strengths. Children need to know that we are all different and that some of those differences are visual and some are not. Teach them how to understand and accept those differences and to focus on the strengths of those differences.
- Teach Them to Give. Whether it be through donations, material items or time, giving to others gives us a sense of love and also enhances those experiences with kids about differences and learning to appreciate and love what they have.
- Let Them Stretch Their Wings. Encourage them to explore and try new things and let them know it’s ok if they fail. Most likely they won’t and will now be able to do more than they could before building their self-esteem, confidence and self-love.
TKD Tip: Think about how you show self-love. Do you think you do a good job? Can you make improvements? The best opportunity for a child to learn is through their parents, so start embracing how you can be a good role model for their self-confidence.
Parent/Child Activity: Find an organization you and your child would enjoy donating to or supporting and start creating that culture of giving all year round.