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In a society that generally appreciates self-deprecation there is a danger of taking it too far. Indeed, when repeating certain phrases, such as “I am such a klutz (slang for clumsy)”, or “there I go again, forgetful me” – we may start believing these statements and worse, develop a reputation of being a klutz or a forgetful person. It is much healthier, psychologically speaking, to limit “down-speaking” about ourselves or perhaps even eliminating it from our repertoire. ESPECIALLY in front of our kids. At a young age the ‘cleverness’ or intended humor inherent in self-deprecation does not register with children, who generally understand things literally. Thus, parents serve their children far better, by being kind to themselves and teaching their children the art of positive speak.
Children often disparage themselves with phrases such as: “I can’t do it!,” or “It’s too hard for me,” or “I am not as smart as my brother or sister.” Parents, even good ones, often just let these expressions of frustration pass. But words and thoughts have power. They can build and they can destroy.
A time-tested way of helping kids develop a kinder more optimistic attitude toward themselves and promoting kids’ self-esteem and self-confidence is by encouraging them to self-affirm. Positive affirmations and merited approval – work, especially when associated with good values and achievements (small or big).
Parents and teachers, whose objective is to foster emotional health, self-esteem and self-confidence in children must be proactive in their relationship with children. Studies confirm that the impact of constructive and positive verbal directives and exchanges between adults and children influence the children’s feelings of self-worth, self- esteem and self-efficacy.
There is ample research that shows the advantage in school and later in their professional life that children with positive self-esteem have over kids whose perception of self is critical or harsh. For what is self-esteem but the “self-evaluation of competence in certain domains of functioning?” (Szente, 2007). Indeed, the earlier children learn to manage the quality of their thoughts about and perceptions of themselves the better they are prepared to deal successfully with future challenges, and the more they are likely to achieve success and fulfillment in life.
With that in mind I authored Positive Affirmations for Little Girls and Positive Affirmations for little Boys. Check them out. You and the children you love will benefit from reading and rereading these lovely affirmations, as they promote good-feel and optimism that fuel the body and the soul.
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Posted by Sarah Mazor
About the Author
Szente, J. (2007). Empowering Young Children for Success in School and in Life. Early Childhood Education Journal