How to Develop Your Child’s Self-Esteem with The Strength of Blessing


A major step in your child’s development of self-esteem will come when your child is able to spontaneously and generously compliment, “bless” or show appreciation for another person.

That kind of behavior from your child, perhaps more than any other kind of behavior, says to the world, “I have value. I’m not afraid that by complimenting, ap­plauding, or appreciating someone else I will diminish my own worth.”

The child who knows his or her value can not be deflated is the child who can give attention to another child or share the limelight. The child who knows he or she cannot lose personal value is the one who has the inner strength and power to “bless” others.

Children

You cannot dictate that kind of spontaneous behavior from your child. You can watch for it and applaud it when it happens, however. And, you can help prepare in your child the willingness to respond with praise and compliments for others.

Encourage your child to tell you about some of the good things that others do or say. I recently overheard Dixie talking with her son Blake. “You made a great play in scoring that goal. What do you think were the other outstanding plays of the game?”

Notice that Dixie opened her question with a compli­ment to her own son. She modeled the behavior she hoped her son would adopt.

Blake responded, “Well, Kerry made a great save when he blocked a goal attempt.”

“What did you think of that long pass that Tad made?”

“That’s what set me up! Sam stole the ball, Tad got it, shot it over to me, and wham—into the net!”

Dixie continued, “Next time we see Tad’s mother, let’s tell her you think he did a great job. We don’t need to make a big deal of it. You could say something like, ‘I’m sure glad Tad is on my team. He’s a great passer.’ That will mean a lot to Tad’s mother.”

Notice that Dixie gave Blake something specific to say. She didn’t require that he generate the compli­ment. Another good move!

When Dixie and Blake saw Tad’s mother a few days later, Blake spoke up. “I’m sure glad Tad’s on my team. He’s a great passer!”

Tad’s mother said, “Why, thank you, Blake. I’ll tell Tad. That will mean a lot coming from you, since you’re the team’s top scorer.” Blake beamed.

It won’t be long before Blake will be confident enough to say directly to Tad after a game (perhaps even in front of the entire team). “Great pass, Tad. You really set up that point.”

Avoid linking rewards or future behavior with compli­ments. Don’t promise to reward your child for compli­menting someone. In other words, don’t say, “Go up and tell Jennie what a good job she did, and then I’ll take you out for ice cream.” Don’t link compliments with manipulation. Don’t say, “Tell Daddy what a good job he did making dinner, and maybe he’ll let you go with him bowling after supper.” Let compliments stand for what they are—an act of giving praise and approval from one human being to another.

Value, don’t devalue, compliments. Many people don’t know how to receive a compliment gracefully. Don’t let your child say, “Oh, it was nothing.” Teach your child how to say, “Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.” Or, “Thank you. It makes me feel good to hear that.”

Finally, encourage your child to compliment others by being free with your own compliments of other adults. Model the behavior you want your child to copy. Be generous in applauding others, in calling attention to their successes, and in appreciating their contributions.

If you show that you value your child, he or she will learn to value himself. Teach your child that a sense of self-worth will be strengthened, not diminished, when he or she compliments and shows appreciation to oth­ers.

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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