These days I am reading the book “Your Child’s Self-Esteem” by Dorothy Corkille Briggs. I am still in the process of reading and plan to finish it by next week. As a mom, I often got gusts of guilty feelings along reading since many of the inappropriate examples seem talking about me. That proves this books is very worthy reading. It pin-points the usual questions of each parent face and give step-by-step solutions to build your children’s self-esteem. I plan to read this book in a way to read a school textbook and prepare school exams. In this way, I’ll understand and absorb the content better, in hope to put the theories into my daily parenting practice. While reading along, I’ll exert some chapters or examples in this blog for self- examination, and also for sharing.
Avoiding the judgment trap
Parents are constantly advised to spend more time with children. Yet, it is the quality of time and not the quantity that affects the feeling of being loved. Mr. H spends hours with his youngsters, working with them on projects and games. On the surface the time spent looks like proof of devotion. But when you observe, you hear a flow of comments like these:“Stop dawdling over your turn, Jimmy. Get going!”“You’re not holding that saw right. How many times have I told you to hold it this way?”“Why can’t pitch that ball the way your brother does? When will you learn to throw from your shoulder?”“You’ve messed up this paint job. Here, let me do it. For Pete’s sake, this time watch me. If you’re going to do something, do it right!”The hours with his youngsters are filled with criticisms, lack of respect, comparisons, and high demands. The more time his children spend with him, the less adequate and lovable they feel. Sheer time does not necessarily add up to love.
To avoid judgments, tell your youngsters what is going on inside you without using labels.The labeling words — adjectives and nouns that describe a person — are the ones that cause trouble. Words like “dawdler,” “messy,” “procrastinator,” “sloppy,” “rude,” “mean,” “selfish,” “naughty,” “nice,” “good,” “bad,” “shameful,” and so on are judgmental by nature. Such labels have no place in the vocabulary of nurturing adults.In general, using “You,” and following it by a noun or adjective describing the child, sends a judgment. Ordinarily, “I,” followed by what is going on inside you, sends a reaction toward behavior. Let’s look again at some messages send first as judgments, and then as reactions.
Ask yourself this question: “If I were to treat my friends as I treat my children, how many friends would I have left?” Few of us would think of shaming or analyzing friends in front of others, jerking them up short with sarcasm, humiliating, embarrassing, hitting, or ordering them about like soldiers under our command. Of course not.A child is no less sensitive because of his size. Disrespect always encrusts caring so that it can’t be felt.