What Do Children Learn From a Parent’s Low Self Image?

By: Suzanne Ostrander

ImageAs I opened up my laptop to write today, I planned on writing in another tone- my favorite tone: humor. Simply put: I live to laugh and words cannot express how much I truly love laughing with others.  Looking for inspiration, I skimmed through a newsletter by Ed Foreman.  It was at that time that I realized that something greater was on my heart, and it was captured in a post about how to love yourself more.

As a new parent, I often wonder if I am up to the task of presenting the world to my son in a manner that captures my values as a Christian.  After all, the way I perceive myself effects not only my perception of the world around me, but it also teaches my child how to think.

Let’s face it, not everybody wakes up in the morning ready to walk on the runway.  If we aren’t careful, we may catch ourselves making derogatory comments about the way we look, and our children can catch wind of it.

What are these types of comments teaching our children?

For starters, it teaches them low self esteem! Parents always will be a child’s first and most influential teacher. Always.

Even if we are working through our own issues of self-worth, DON’T pass it on to your children!! Bite your tongue if you have to!  Even better, take measures to learn to love yourself, so you don’t have to worry about letting such self critical comments slip!

Lessons learned from the home can be unlearned later in life, but the amount of effort and years it takes to correct such thinking is enough to make any parent think twice before constantly verbalizing their “bad hair day”. Of course, a bad hair day is sadly a censored version of some of the awful things some parents will say about themselves.

We were all made by a loving Creator who made no mistakes.  Can you imagine how much it hurts God each time we ridicule ourselves?  Our words have power. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “life and death are in the power of the tongue”.  It’s reckless behavior to disregard the power of our spoken words on a daily basis.

Below is one of my favorite poems on parenthood and the things we teach our children.  It is hanging in my son’s nursery now. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but I pray that I can use this and God’s wisdom as a guide throughout my journey to help me be the best parent I can be.

Children Learn What they Live

By: Dorothy Law Nolte

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

I am also pasting below the wonderful article by Ed Foreman on how to love ourselves better.  These words of wisdom can serve as a reminder to us all from time to time.  Enjoy! As always, never forget to encourage excellence in your everyday lives.

Eight Steps to Loving Yourself More

Learning to love yourself is the first step toward loving others and effects how you view the world and your place in it. Loving yourself means accepting yourself unconditionally and understanding that in life there are some things that you cannot change. To have self love is not conceited or arrogant but is part of recognizing your worth as a human being. Once you are able to appreciate yourself for all your strengths, weaknesses, talents and flaws you will begin to appreciate these things in others as well.

Here are eight steps to encourage you to love yourself more:

Don’t Nag Yourself: Everyone is his or her own worst critic, but it is important to give yourself constructive criticism. Learn to control the little voice inside your head and cut the nagging.

Believe in You: There is not a soul alive without some talents or skills, including you. Having the confidence to believe in yourself and your abilities will go a long way in creating your successes.

Be Forgiving: Many of us are haunted by our past mistakes and never fully recover from negative experiences or traumas. Allow yourself the chance to heal by forgiving yourself the way you would forgive others.

Express Gratitude: Whether you pray every morning and give thanks for being alive or go through your day telling those you love that you appreciate them, gratitude is key to loving yourself. Appreciating what you have makes room in your life to receive more.

Take risks: A little calculated risk taking every now and then never hurt anyone. Learning to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things can be an instant confidence booster and help you grow.

Be silly: When you were a child you never worried about what people thought of you but somewhere along the way it became important. Learn to face the world like a child again and act a little silly – blow bubbles, make funny faces, sing silly songs. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Let Yourself Be Pampered: Taking time to relax and regroup can have a wonderful effect on your spirit. Whether you get a massage or spend some time listening to soothing music, learn to enjoy doing nothing but letting go.

Honesty is the Best Policy: Being truthful in regards to your wants, desires, and feelings is imperative to loving yourself. After all, if you cannot believe what you are telling yourself, why would anyone else believe you? Do not lie to yourself, instead just let yourself feel what you feel and accept what is.

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