The Power of Words in Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Every day, our kids face consistent pressure from to look and act in particular ways that aren’t always consistent with their character or values. These pressures can come from family members close in age, friends, and through the media. Though you can’t remove these pressures, you can instill confidence and high self-esteem into your children.
Starting with Affirmations
Affirmations have helped thousands of people make significant changes in their lives. The purpose of affirmations is to get the mind to express its desired change and for our actions embrace those beliefs and act as if we have achieved the goal.
“Affirmations can be a powerful tool to help you change your mood, state of mind, and manifest the change you desire in your life. But they work best if you can first identify the unwholesome belief that is opposing them,” said Ronald Alexander, Ph.D. of The Wise Open Mind.
When you first start saying affirmations, you may find difficulty believing them to be true. One of the first thing you have to help your child do is to identify and remove any unwholesome thinking about themselves that will hinder their focus. Those thoughts have to be replaced with how they will make the change.
For example, if your child’s affirmation is, “I will lose five pounds in 30 days,” they may not achieve it because the goal is vague. They have no direction. A better affirmation would be, “I will lose five pounds in 30 days eating whole foods and exercising three times per week.” See the difference. You have removed a potential stumbling block by telling them how they will lose the weight instead of leaving it up to chance. When your child’s affirmations are vague, doubt can creep in.
Alexander warns, “If an unwholesome belief is deeply rooted in our unconscious mind then it has the ability to override a positive affirmation even if we aren’t aware of it. This is why for many people affirmations don’t seem to work as their afflicted thought patterns are so strong that it knocks out the effect of the positive statement.
Have your child work on an affirmation. Get creative with it using. Write it on construction page with markers, cut out letters, and anything you can think of. Use images to illustrate what the end goal looks like. Then for the next 30 days, practice going over it with your child every morning and evening. Have your child write it down on a small slip of paper to carry in a purse, backpack, or wallet for easy review throughout the day.
Use a Journal with Prompts.
Another great exercise is to use journaling with writing prompts to help reinforce self-esteem. Each afternoon, your child can write one of the following questions on top of the page, answer the question, and discuss with you if they choose to do so. These questions are designed to help your child to inventory him or herself to understand their own great qualities.
- What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
- How do your parents encourage you to be more confident?
- Write about a unique quality you have that makes you special.
- When you’re feeling confident, what emotions do you experience?
- Write about a person you admire. What qualities do you have in common with this person?
- What does it feel like when someone recognizes something you worked hard to do?
- Name three qualities you love about yourself.
- How do you think other people see you?
- What is self-esteem?
- Why is it important to have high self-esteem?
- How do you know when you’ve succeeded at something?
- What kinds of things hurt self esteem? How can you discourage these activities?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What do you see when you look in the mirror?
- What does it mean to have confidence?
- How do you think confidence relates to happiness?
- Write about your favorite physical feature.
- Write about your favorite intellectual quality.
- When you want to feel more confident, what do you do?
- What is your biggest goal? How will you achieve it?
Practice makes perfect.
Ensure your affirmations fit your child’s personal needs and goals. These exercises will challenge your child, but if done right, begin to show them that they have the confidence within to feel good about themselves.