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It's never easy being a parent. There are so many things to think about. Are you raising your children properly? Are you enforcing enough rules? Or are you being too strict?
However, there is one area of parenting that you should be extra concerned about. That is enhancing your child's self-image, developing their self-esteem, and making them feel good about themselves. This starts with your most important duty – letting your child know that he is loved, valued, and overall important. If your child grows up with these constant messages of support, their confidence will grow, and they will develop a strong and healthy self-image.
Your child needs to hear from you again and again that he is accepted. He needs to be totally assured that he is loved, regardless of his weaknesses, personality, appearance, and interests. In short, you need to encourage your child to feel good about himself and his capabilities: you can not hold back when it comes to giving your children verbal and emotional feedback about their self-worth.
However, you should not confuse building self-image with lack of discipline. Just because you are prepared to the extra mile to build your child's self-esteem, it does not mean that you shouldn't show anger and disappointment if he misbehaves. By setting limits, you tell your children what you expect of them. Setting limits, making rules, and enforcing punishments if the rules are broken, actually helps show your children that you care about them and how they behave.
While discipline is important, including expressing disapproval when necessary, make sure that you do it right. Any such disapproval should always be directed at the misbehavior, and never expressed as general disapproval of the child.
Many parents received negative messages when they were growing-up: that they were unwanted, not good enough, or did not belong. Parent's who have been through these experiences, may unconsciously treat their children in the same way. Don't build up unrealistically high expectations that obviously will not come to pass, and then look down on your child when he fails to meet impossibly high standards.
Accept your child as he is. Let your child know that he is loved and wanted. And most importantly learn to enhance your child's positive self-image.
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