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How to Teach Your Child Self-Respect

by Kathryn Hatter

A healthy dose of self-respect is important for success. Self-respect acts as a foundation, determining personality, self-worth and ultimately how a person interacts with others. With strong self-respect, your child will know that he’s important, smart and valuable. Approach this important life skill as an ongoing lesson. Strong senses of self-respect and self-esteem will help your child act responsibly, responsively and respectfully as he interacts with others daily.

Love and accept your child unconditionally. Regardless of your child’s age, you can instill feelings of acceptance and self-worth. Teach your child, by how you treat him, that he is valuable and worthy of love. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with every choice or interest of your child. Set these issues aside and concentrate on showing your child that you love him as a person, even if his choices and opinions run counter to yours.

Ask questions and seek to understand your child’s thoughts, interests and opinions to demonstrate your unconditional love and support. Maintain eye contact to show your interest. Listen as your child shares information and answers your questions. Ask follow-up questions so you understand what’s important to your child and to demonstrate your interest.

Demonstrate respect for your child to show him how to do it. Your example is one of the most powerful teaching tools available in child-rearing. Show your child that he is worthy of respect by respecting his feelings, his privacy and his property.

Express your pride in your child at every opportunity. Tell your child when you’re proud of his actions and his achievements. This positive feedback is paramount for instilling self-respect in your child. You might say, “I really appreciated how you helped your sister find her lost library book. I’m proud of you!” Keep the positive feedback coming continually -- your child really can’t hear enough of it.

Look for ways to bolster your child’s competence. The more success and experience your child has, the more confidence he’ll feel in his abilities. This often means stepping back and resisting the urge to hover over your child. Let him try doing something for himself whenever possible -- the experience and skills he’ll gain will be gifts in his journey toward independence. For instance, let him create a science project without your help. You might be amazed at the ideas he comes up with.

Teach your child how to fail. Mistakes are a fact of life. When you equip your child with skills necessary to make mistakes and regroup, you teach your child how to analyze and learn from his mistakes. The result will be a resilient child who keeps trying in the face of struggles and challenges.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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