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Teaching Kids To Love Themselves By Looking Inward At Ourselves

It starts with a spark.

The personality of the beautiful baby you carried in your arms starts to form. You see the eccentricities, the quirks, the beautiful and wonderful things that make them human and individual. Your heart swells with pride but you worry.

Mum talking to daughter about self-love

You worry about that spark.

The parenting instinct to protect children is a strong one. We stress about food, being independent, exercise, education and instilling messages about stranger danger. But there is one thing we truly struggle to protect our children from and that’s society itself. Those beautiful, individual characteristics we so admire and love in our children might be the very thing that sees them teased and bullied in the schoolyard.

We try and help them so we dim that spark – little by little.

Be quieter. Smile more. Don’t talk so much. Talk a little louder. Join in. Stop joining in so much. Hold back. Push forward.

We give this advice to our kids to try and shape them into the culture around them in the hope that they’ll be safe from the awful bullying with tragic results that we see on our screens every day. But by dimming that spark are we taking away the thing that might bolster their strength? Are we diminishing their capacity for self-love?

Young girl with red hair happy dancing child

You can’t be what you can’t see

Confidence is not a trait that we are born with. Self-confidence, self-esteem and self-love are positive attributes that can be role modelled for children. And that role model can be you.

Think of the way that you talk about yourself in front of your children. Are you proud of what you can do? Of what your body can do? Or do you speak down about your physicality?

Are strengths celebrated in your house or is it a place where only weaknesses are pointed out? Choosing to celebrate what everyone in the family is good at, including you, promotes the idea that everyone is unique and everyone has value. Think of it as ‘anti-bully spray’. Building your children up so they are confident, not cocky, could serve to battle some derogatory messages they might hear to the contrary from those who would seek to harm them.

“You can’t be what you can’t see” means that children often need to see examples of behaviour in order to have something to aim for. If you can work on loving your self, you can then model that for your children. Positive affirmations are one thing but truly believing that you are worthy of love and happiness will instil a similar ethos in your children as well. No inspirational quote can replace the value of solid, hard-earned self-esteem.

happy toddler boy eating ice cream

Living your best life

Make the most of your time with your children. Some days are shit – there’s just no denying that. But some days are absolute magic. Embrace who they are and where they’re at right now and know that it’s exactly where they need to be. Don’t project onto them your fears or your wishes – let them be who they are and reflect that back at them by connecting to your own sense of self-worth.

Teaching kids to love themselves… self-love

If this is an area of your parenting you’d like to work on, there are plenty of resources available. Take a deep breath, listen to this pep talk from Kid President and go get ‘em, mama. Love yourself first and the kids will follow suit.


All Mum Said - Teaching Kids To Love Themselves

All Mum Said

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  1. 06/08/2018 / 11:19 am

    I love the point about being a role model for your children – I always talk down about myself, but I don’t want my boys to do the same thing. Something very important for me to reflect on, thank you!

  2. 06/08/2018 / 12:31 pm

    I love this! As a Mama and a Childcare Educator I often wonder if we are squashing down their uniqueness when getting them to follow along and participate. It can be a fine line at times. I also love the link to Kid President, I’ve seen some great videos by him.

    I’m also going to attempt to join in your link, it’s my first time ever so I hope I get it right!

  3. 06/08/2018 / 3:55 pm

    Martin Seligman (the “father of positive psychology”) writes some great stuff for kids on this topic. “The Optimistic Child” and “Learned Optimism”.

    Love him. Also gotta love Kid President!

    Thanks for hosting

  4. 06/08/2018 / 4:38 pm

    I agree that kids need to see by example. It can be hard to do. I also think they build their self-confidence by facing their fears or working through projects. They can feel that sense of accomplishment when they have survived the other side. It’s the same for parents. We can do hard things, do what needs to be done and feel a sense of achievement afterwards. When kids see that, it can be a great example for them to follow. I finally linked up this week! Yay. Thank you for hosting.

  5. 06/08/2018 / 6:33 pm

    What a fantastic sentence: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” In teaching, we model the steps we take to solve problems. We show the students how WE would solve it. Why not so exactly what you suggest and do the same for kids in terms of sense of self? Makes perfect sense.

  6. 07/08/2018 / 1:05 am

    It can be hard trying to find that balance between giving them the freedom to be who they’re supposed to be, while making sure they can survive their childhood in one piece.

  7. 07/08/2018 / 7:40 am

    You really do have to consider what you say and how you speak about yourself in particular. Kids are such sponges!

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