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Stay connected to build self-esteem

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 3 March 2022

In the presence of a trusted adult, kids feel free to be themselves. They feel comfortable and confident in expressing who they are when they know they will not be judged or ridiculed. 

It is important that we give our kids plenty of opportunities to express themselves through both their language and behavior, and to simply accept them. We need to shift the focus away from changing the behavior over to acceptance and connection. Some ways to stay connected and get to know your child include:

  • Regular one-on-one time - Scheduled this every day if possible. Older school-aged children and teenagers may be able to go longer between one-on-one time with you, but do not go longer than one week without squeezing in quality time with any of your children.
  • "Get to know me" games - Laugh, talk, have fun, and play with your children during free moments, in the car, and during dinner. Allow your child to express herself in silly ways and practice not judging her.
  • Family meetings - Schedule weekly meetings of the whole family. Items on the agenda may be discussing the week's calendar, meal planning, problem-solving a concern. The key to successful family meetings is that everyone gets a voice and to share in the brainstorming. Take all contributions seriously; everyone's input matters. 

Self-esteem, like so many other behavioral goals in parenting, doesn't appear with a snap of the fingers. It comes from the strength of a child making empowering decisions. It comes from a child learning from mistakes without the fear of punishment. It comes from a child's strong connection to a loving parent. 

Parenting never goes perfectly, but we must find those moments to connect with and encourage our kids during which we can help ensure the development of our children's strong perception of their own worth. An "I matter!" approach to life becomes one of the most valuable tools for succeeding in an often-discouraging world.


Kelly Bartlett is a certified positive discipline educator.


love is time