You can nurture it, you can support the acquisition of it, you can discuss, debate, and debase it, but you cannot build someone else’s Self-esteem. Your children know that they are not the prettiest, smartest, funniest, or most talented person in the world. They know that you are just complimenting them because you’re their parent and that’s your job. So, don’t think for one minute that your positive comments change the way that they think about themselves.
Negative comments, that’s another story. You can certainly make your child feel so bad about themselves that they run away from home, exile themselves to the home, or execute/ contemplate suicide.
What to do – What to do?
- Be an honest parent. Every conversation that you have with your children will not be positive.
- Don’t be judgemental. You can give YOUR opinion without making them feel that THEIR opinion is wrong.
- Show compassion. Validate their concerns. Don’t make them feel like their concerns are not real. Their perception is their reality.
- Provide unconditional love. Your love should not be contingent upon their grades, looks, winning ways, or their love for you (ouch).
Remember, you can tear it down, but you can’t build it.