Below is a framework by which you can begin your own assessment of the self-esteem within your family (and steps that can then be taken to reflect on/improve in areas that may have fallen behind).
Only if children’s basic emotional needs are filled, can they learn to like and value themselves.
For this reason, understanding our children’s needs is the first step in creating the proper climate for healthy growth and development.
These needs can be grouped into four basic areas; belonging, uniqueness, power and freedom of expression.
When children experience a sense of satisfaction in each of these areas, then greater self-esteem results.
Now, for your homework!
Review each area below from your child’s perspective. Answer the self-reflective questions about how you are, or plan on fulfilling each need within your family.
“I feel that I am important to someone whom I respect and whose opinion I value.”
Think and respond: What are examples of times you listened with interest, spent focused time together, shared family stories, or just told them you loved them? How often?
“I feel I did something that only I could have done in that particular way. I feel special and have a sense of my own unique gifts.”
Think and respond: How are your children different from you? In what ways do you recognize, accept and appreciate these differences?
“I feel I am in charge and get things done that I set out to do. I feel confident that I can handle whatever I am faced with.”
Think and respond: In what ways do you allow your children to make their own decisions and solve their own problems?
Freedom of expression
“I can share a difficult-to-express thought, feeling, or opinion with someone, and in doing so, I connect with that person on a deeper level than ever before.”
Think and respond: How do you respond when your children express a different point of view than yours? How do you allow freedom of expression?
©2014 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children.