Encouraging Self-esteem in children

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Dorothy Corkille Briggs in her book Your Child's Self-esteem, writes (I have paraphrased some):

Repeatedly we treat children as second-class creatures devoid of feelings…. At times we blatantly disregard their sensitivities.

A mother and her ten-year-old daughter are having lunch with mother's friend. The two women become highly involved in conversation for forty-five minutes, unaware that they're shutting out another person (child though she is) who sits silently eating. Neither of these two women would dream of behaving this way if the third person were another adult. Unthinkingly, they assume that treatment unacceptable for an adult is all right for a child. But what about the child's need to be treated with respect?...

A frequent comment in parent-education classes is, "This class has made me start seeing my child as a person." Most of us aren't disrespectful willfully. We simply forget and fail to put ourselves in children's shoes.…

Any time you make a child feel small, shamed, guilty, non-existent, or embarrassed, you put the child down, deny respect, destroy safety, and damage self-esteem.

When your child brings home a math test with twenty-seven of thirty problems correct; what does the parent notice? The three or the 27?…

In many little ways, we forget to focus on the unique gifts of each child. We focus on what he doesn't have.…

I add: an assertive child who is ignored is likely to act out with misbehavior! The mother, above, might wonder why.


 

—Your Child's Self-esteem by Dorothy Corkille Briggs, pp 91–92