Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teaching children to love one another begins with teaching them to love themselves.

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the value of teaching our children to care for others. Lately, I have been thinking about teaching children to love themselves. What is the best way to find that balance between creating healthy self confidence, without creating a child that believes themselves to be at the center of the universe?
My 6-year-old had trouble this year accepting the fact that he just can’t run as fast as his friends. He was upset and pretty down on himself. In this case, I started off by explaining to him that each person has their own individual strengths, some are fast runners and some, like him, are great at building and math. I also told him that if he wanted to get faster, he could, but he had to practice.
I believe that by creating an environment in which they feel safe, loved, and valued goes a long way. Additionally, I think it is important to let children try things on their own (watching like a hawk, of course!). In doing things from sports to school projects independently, children will learn the joy of succeeding on their own and also learn to get past it in a healthy way when they don’t succeed. They will also learn that some things take a lot of practice, but the work is worth it. It can be heartbreaking to watch our children struggle, but I think a key of raising a healthy child, is to let them learn their strengths and their weakness’, along with the value of hard work, so they can ultimately embrace who they are and learn what they are capable of when they put their minds to something.
Does anyone have suggestions regarding how they approach this challenge with their own children?

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