Are You Thoughtful Enough to Raise Your Children with High Self Esteem?

February 5, 2009 at 7:25 am | Posted in attitudes, children, Self Esteem, Thoughtful Thursday | 9 Comments
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Today is Thoughtful Thursday.  Are you actually being thoughtful enough to be raising your kids with high self esteem?

I don’t want to get you confused and stressed, but most parents who are trying to bring high self-esteem into their houses are actually bringing in something that has no resemblance to self-esteem.

Most parents are teaching their children to compete against an external standard. Rather than help their children achieve their personal best, they are actually measuring them against a standard set out by some collective social norm.

How can you tell the difference?

Be thoughtful of the way yourself think about success, achievement, and acceptable completion of projects.

If you pay attention to how your child starts and how your child finishes, what the process is your child is using, rather than have any notion that there is a standard, that it is necessary to compare, then you are bringing in high self-esteem.

But if you are like most parents who compare your kids to any other kids, even with your own kids, you could be sabotaging your kids self-esteem.

Maybe it is no big deal to you, but it should be. I have seen way too many children who have seem to have fine self-esteem as kids crash as teens or adults.

They do not have an inner strength to be able to withstand the outside social pressures.

Have a Thursday filled with thought,


PS:  Are you holding back because of your own lack of self-esteem?  Seems to me you shouldn’t really want to repeat the pattern.



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  1. I’ve worked hard on making sure that my children are growing up with good self-esteem.

    I made sure they understood that saying negative things to people and calling names is not okay and won’t be tolerated.

    When their friends came to plly and called people stupid, I would gently point out that we din’t say things like that in our house and turn the situation around.

    All 5 of my children are confident and happy in their own skin. They are great role models.

    It’s really quite easy, just decide what your standards are and have firm boundaries that you gently and,lovingly enforce.

    Lynne Lee
    Christian Life Coach

  2. I make a point of encouraging them and buidling them up and making sure they know they are loved.

    When they compare themselves to others I point out their strengths and make sure they know it’s okay to be different and shine at different things.

    My children know they are valuable and valued for who they are.

    Here is a clickable link for Grace On The Go

  3. Striving for high self esteem isn’t necessarily the best thing. My wife and I recently attended a presentation by John Rosemond, the acclaimed parenting author (Raising the Strong Willed Child). Mr. Rosemomd said at one point that a child’s temper tantrum should really be called a “high self-esteem attack”. This is not the first time I have heard that seeking high self-esteem is not in ones best interest. Supposedly, studies have shown that the people with the highest self-esteem are those people who are encarcerated in maximum security prisons. Oh yea… and two year old children. Think about it: these are people who feel entitled to everything, and who are willing to do anything to get it. It would be in a person’s best interest to grow their self esteem IF all they’re interested in is becoming self serving. If someone desires self-absorption, self-centeredness, narrow mindedness, tunnel-visionedness, and overall self-destructiveness then one should jump on the first flight to Highselfesteemville. Okay, so I understand this but I still don’t get it. I don’t REALLY get it because I can’t seem to LIVE it. I feel like a broken record, or one of those lab rats that rewards itself to death. Doing the same dumb thing over and over and over again. Why can’t I see the big picture and and get out of my own way long enough to see someone or something besides myself? It is maddening. I keep making the same mistakes. I keep committing the same sin. I keep hurting myself and others over and over again in the same way. What is it going to take? Well God, I’m praying for a break through. Just my thoughts.

  4. You do have a good point here. There are some people who have high self esteem and no morals or values. But they are truly the exception.

    The goal for high self esteem is not to be able to “feel entitled to everything, and who are willing to do anything to get it.” The goal of high self esteem is to feel confident in oneself, and not need the approval of others to be one’s best.

    So if we can capture the two year old’s zest for life, ability to know they are truly wonderful and yes that they really do deserve the best life has to offer, then we can be as happy and loving of life as the two year old. My personal phrase for two-year-olds is Terrific Twos.

    All the people I know who have high self-esteem are the most generous, giving, lively and fun to be with people I ever encounter. They are so comfortable with themselves, they have all the ability to understand others, are so open minded you know they are truly and completely able understand and accept your values and ideas. They are open to all the new ideas because they are able to be comfortable with change.

    So I completely disagree with your idea of a person with high self-esteem.

    I believe that the reason you are struggling with the whole idea of high self-esteem is that you wish you were among those who have high self-esteem. And that you are in the realm of needing some kind of reward system- getting your esteem from others or outside.

    And yes I do think that there are many tantrums that are a self esteem attack. But not because the child has such high self esteem, but because the child is loosing their self-esteem.

    By understanding the true essence of natural high self esteem you can be enlightened, understanding, generous, open minded, and genuinely confident about what you do and who you are. You will not need to find rewards and repeat undesirable behaviors. I hope you open your life to the God given gifts and strengths that are there for you.

  5. I appreciate your comments regarding my post on self-esteem. Mine were sort of a rambling statement and self analysys combined. I’m going to certainly contradict myself here but I’m okay with that. Some of the conlicting views I hold regarding seeking high self-esteem simply lie in the semantics. I definitely seek confidence and humility, openness, and self compassion. While I feel I have many of the charactaristics you mention in the last paragraph of your comment, confidence is one that truly eludes me. I have lived a life that has been very short on confidence and self-compassion. In the past I very desperately sought out personal growth with the goal being to improve my self esteem. Regardless of how well I understand the true meanings of the terminology, it come down to the fact that I just want to be happy. I realize that my need for approval is a big problem and I also understand how undesirable behaviors are born (and I have plenty). Your ending comment regarding opening myself to the gifts God has blessed me with really hits the mark. I’m trying and trying and trying to surrender the control and open myself entirely but I’m not quite there. God has blessed me with talents and I just need to trust in him, and in myself. Thanks again for your response.

    • I’m honored that you feel able to comment and ramble here. We all contradict ourselves as we find our way. And there is such a problem with semantics confusing and complicating communication. Confidence and self-compassion are two traits that often go together, or in your case are gone together.

      How can you get either of these to begin to grow in you? Trying to have one grow will help the other. And I am just guessing, but unless you get some self-compassion, no matter how much you put into confidence, it will be sabotaged by your lack of self compassion.

      Here is a starting suggestion for you- Have a self-compassion chart.
      Each day choose one thing that you will be compassionate about your self.
      Write it down on a piece of paper in large letters.
      Then stick this onto a poster board that is on your wall.
      This can be semi private- but you must be able to see it a few times each day.
      You can repeat these.

      Here are a few examples of what you can write-
      I will tell my self that others make the same mistakes I make,
      I will give myself a hug each time I need one,
      I will nod a happy hello to me when I see my reflection.

      These are concrete action/thoughts you can do. That is very important at the start. Do this for a month, everyday. Let me know how it goes. Anything I can do let me know.

      And again thanks for sharing with me. I am truly honored by your trust in me,

  6. Grace – My posts got a bit off topic to this thread so thank you for your considerate replies. I’ll try to implement your suggestions. For me the hardest part is in the DOING.
    Blessings, Mike

  7. Mike,

    You are right the hardest part in this is often the doing. Not to be pushy, but that is just what I do, help people with the doing. I would love to see if there is a way I can help you with the doing- getting past the thinking and knowing. If not me then find a group, keep writing here, do ONE thing each day- it can seem totally insignificant in the general sense. You will be trying to allow this new way of being in so delicately it is hardly noticed. If you want to try with me then email me at Or you can still write here. I’m rooting for you.

  8. Thanks!

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