How can I protect my child from life’s hurts?
Will my child be bullied?
Will my child stand up to peer pressure?
How can I prepare my child for the challenges in the world?
If you’re like me, these are the nagging questions that seem to always be present. Some days these questions are quiet and just sit idle in the back of our minds. Like white noise that we are able to drown out with hugs and snuggles. Other days these worries are front and center in our minds screaming at us for answers, solutions, and comfort.
As a parent I have realized that I CANNOT protect my children from everything, but I CAN equip my children with the tools to protect themselves. Over the past 10-years as a licensed mental health therapist working with children, adults, and families I have learned that the best thing we can do for our kids is to build in them a healthy self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem is the greatest protection against life’s uncertainties. Fredrick Douglas once said; “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” A child that is taught how to nurture their self-esteem is then equipped with the most powerful tools to overcome all of life’s challenges.
What is Healthy Self-Esteem?
Before we can build healthy self-esteem in our children we have to understand the true definition of healthy self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem is when a person knows that they are worthy simply because they exist. You are worthy of love, respect, appreciation, and joy. Your worth as a human being is not defined by others or by externals such as money, status, etc.
Healthy self-esteem is knowing that you are enough. It is also knowing that everyone else is enough. No person is more OR less worthy than another. We are all equally worthy.
Having a foundation of healthy self-esteem is knowing that even though you may not be the best at something, it does not make you less worthy. It does not make you less of a person. Just as being the best at something does not make you better than others and does not make you more worthy.
We all have gifts, talents, and strengths we are born with. It is acknowledging and accepting your strengths AND your weaknesses and being at peace with who you are and knowing that your worth as a human being is not dependent on any outside factors.
Right about now you might be thinking; “Wait, so this chick is telling me that my worth as a person is not based on being nice, smart, giving, pretty, etc. That I don’t have to make good choices, wear trendy clothes, or get the big promotion at work in order to increase my self-esteem.”