But I Don’t FEEL Special

Have you heard this from your child and wondered what else you could do to help him FEEL special?

Children certainly need to hear that they are special, but they must also have tangible reminders. Here are some tips that might be effective in helping your child FEEL special. Not all will apply, but perhaps you can try a few of them:

1.     Your child will learn more by watching how you live than by listening to what you say – but never underestimate the power of your words. Be mindful of the negative comments you make about yourself. When you say disrespectful things about yourself, your child assumes that she should feel that way about herself.

2.     Words matter. Tell your child every day that his feelings are very important to you. Though sometimes your words seem to fall deaf ears, don’t ever stop saying them.

3.     Create a wall of honor in your home. Every child is good at something and should have a place where evidence of her achievements is displayed—trophies, certificates, medals, pictures of recitals, etc.  Start your child’s wall early and involve her in creating the space and in adding new items. Periodically revisit the wall with her to celebrate her successes.

4.     Spend time alone with each of your children. Having your undivided attention is critical to building your child’s feelings of self-worth. Routinely plan activities like playing in the backyard or doing an art project together, as well as simple experiences such as a trip to the park or the ice cream shop. These moments are a worthwhile investment that will reap huge rewards for both of you.

5.     Make sure your child’s friends build her self-esteem. Provide social opportunities for her and her peers in your home where you can monitor them, as well as provide guidance and support as needed. If her friends do not build her self-esteem, help her find new ones.

6.     Give your child responsibilities and ask for her help. She feels special when she helps you, so find tasks that fit her personality and then praise her appropriately and often. Ask for her help in areas where she shows a natural interest so that something she truly enjoys becomes her job in the family. If she loves being outdoors, buy her a special broom and ask her to help you keep the patio clean. If she loves organizing, ask her to help you put away the silverware when unloading the dishwasher. Avoid tasks that might be uncomfortable for her. For example, if she is afraid of loud noises, don’t start with asking her to vacuum.

7.     Watch for what works for your child. Ask him what makes him feel special and listen carefully. We sometimes tend to do what WE like instead of observing and listening to what he really desires from us.

8.     Keep in tune with each of your children’s needs. This does not mean that you favor one child over another. It simply confirms that you are in tune with what each child needs from you. Children don’t always know how to ask for what they need—just because your child doesn’t ask for a hug doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be hugged. It is your job to read all his signals, not just listen to his words.

I recommend this fantastic website for more information on this subject:
http://www.self-esteem-health.com/building-child-self-esteem.html

Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.

 

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