Children’s self image; Parents, your child or teen’s entire sense of value is based on what they see in YOUR FACE when you first see them. Does your expression convey affection or irritation? Do you communicate appreciation or dislike? Dads and Moms, do you know your child becomes who you tell him he is? EVERYTHING you say will be absorbed, the good and the bad. Dads, you have SUPERPOWER over the self-images of your children.

ALERT-A child or teen’s biggest mistake, lowest moment, most serious misbehavior, is your strongest opportunity to speak your words of confidence, faith, hope, improvement and blessing into their hearts. Will they be in despair, believing they are worthless and incompetent? Or will your children be overwhelmed by your love in their worst moment, and compelled to live up to your faith in them? Children/teens believe of themselves what You believe of Them.

DSC_3120_2Play with your child and have fun. When you play with your child, it shows him that you like spending time with him and value his company.

Not only does your child develop confidence in his ability to be an interesting and entertaining person who can form solid social bonds, but studies have shown a child’s odds of being happy increases and his risk of depression and decreases when parents play with them.

Give your child responsibilities and chores. Being responsible for doing chores appropriate for the age gives your child a sense of belonging and being important.  Even if she doesn’t do something perfectly, let her know that you appreciate her efforts, praise her for all the things she does well, and reassure her that over time, she’ll get better and better at many things, including her chores.

Let your child be independent. The elementary-school years is a time of fast-growing self-confidence in kids. By the time they reach the middle-school years, many children are starting to spend time alone at home, getting to the bus-stop  and helping younger siblings. It’s important that parents allow kids to grow increasingly more autonomy, letting them figure out how to talk to teachers about any problems on their own, organizing school responsibility, making sure they’re soccer uniforms are packed and ready, and so on. So-called “hovering parenting” undermines kids’ abilities to do things on their own and to build good self-esteem.

Teach your child to see setbacks and failures as chances to learn. Emphasize the fact that being human means making mistakes and not being perfect. Teach her to see that setbacks are what teaches us so that we can continue to try to improve.Never insult or belittle your child. When your child does something that frustrates you, he/she  misbehaves, be sure to separate the behavior from your child. You’re human–when your child pushes your buttons you’ll probably be irritated or even angry. Talk to your child with respect. Don’t yell [link], take emotion out when you discipline your child (a good way to do this is by using natural and logical consequences[link]), and speak to your child WITH RESPECT.

Get off the phone. We are constantly connected these days, thanks to mobile devices that let us text and post to social media and check email all day, every day. Research shows that more kids are noticing that their parents are ignoring/dismissing the kids.  It doesn’t feel good to be constantly ignored when you’re with someone–when you are spending one-on-one time with your child, put down the phone.

Understand that self-esteem does not mean arrogance or conceit or feeling entitled. Being self-confident does not mean thinking that the world revolves around you or that your needs are more important than those of other people. Balance out a healthy self esteem with other important life skills kids need such as having kindness, respect for others and empathy.

Help him create and show off his work. Work on fun projects with your child and display them around the house. When he brings home his artwork, writing, and other projects from school, ask him to tell you all about how he made it, what he wants people who see his work to think or feel (the way an artist might when talking about his work), and what he loves best about his creation. Giving your child a chance to show off the things he makes or to talk about the things he made lets him feel like his creations are worthy of attention, and that his opinion and thoughts matter.