4.1 Self-Esteem Toolset
THIS CHAPTER IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING REFORMATTED FOR WEB TRANSLATION. THE TEXT IN THE GRAPHICS MAY BE MISSING OR EMBEDDED ENGLISH UNTIL THIS PROCESS IS FINISHED. PLEASE REFER TO THE PDF FOR GRAPHIC TEXT UNTIL THIS MESSAGE IS DELETED.
Please remember that you signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement before being granted access to this content. You have my permission to reprint this content for your personal use only. If you want to reprint or distribute this to others, please complete & submit a reprint request form. Thank you!– Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE, The Parent’s Toolshop, © 2000.
Chapter 4: Self-Esteem Toolset 85
86 The Parent’s Toolshop
4 SELF-ESTEEM TOOLSET
We can build a beautiful house and decorate it with expensive, fashionable furniture, but if the structure itself is of poor quality, its beauty is simply a disguise. We will be continually frustrated with the problems resulting from its inferior quality. On the other hand, we can build a house that is plain and simple but of high-quality workmanship. This house, while not as pretty or expensive, is more valuable in a different way. While we might occasionally be disappointed by the external appearance, we can feel satisfied that the house is worthwhile and will experience fewer problems.
Likewise, healthy parents help their children feel good about their inside qualities, even when their outside appearance is less than perfect. To do this, healthy parents use specific attitudes and tools, such as those in the Self-Esteem Toolset.
IN THIS CHAPTER
This chapter encourages us to consider three important parenting ideas:
- There is a difference between self-esteem, self-image, and ego-esteem.
- There is a difference between praise and encouragement.
- The attitudes and language of descriptive encouragement are the most effective tools for building self-esteem.
WHEN TO USE THIS TOOLSET
We can build self-esteem anytime, when people work hard on a task, do something well, feel frustrated, make a mistake, or accomplish a goal. We can use these tools with anyone, with children, adults, and ourselves.
WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM?
Self-image refers to our thoughts about our outside appearance, what we think others see. This includes our looks, talents, popularity, or accomplishments.
A Personal Story. Throughout my childhood, I had a bad under bite. Wearing braces for over five years still didn’t correct the problem. It was difficult not being pretty, and my self-image was always low. Nevertheless, I felt confident and capable and knew I had a lot of positive qualities— inside. I did not love my looks, but I loved who I was. As an adult, I had reconstructive surgery and could see some prettiness for the first time. I still avoid mirrors, but the experience helped me realize that outside appearances are helpful, but inside qualities are what really count .When people appear to have a positive self-image, we often assume they have high self-esteem. Having a positive self-image is important, but it is only superficial. We can have a positive self-image, but still feel we are no good inside. Likewise, we can feel worthwhile and lovable even when we are insecure about our looks or popularity.
Chapter 4: Self-Esteem Toolset 87
There is a myth that if parents praise or compliment children, they will become conceited. Conceit is a belief that I am better than others. This type of self-image is called “ego-esteem.” People with high ego-esteem build themselves up by putting others down. Their defensiveness is a disguise for their real insecurity.
Our job as parents is to raise fully functioning adults, not just adults who appear to be well-adjusted. We are often surprised when children or teens who appear confident run into problems. We thought they were well-adjusted, because they appeared so. When we use effective parenting skills, we might not have children who are always on time or never argue, because they are human, but we will reach our goal of raising well-balanced adults. True self-esteem comes from within. When we have a healthy self-esteem we are confident, independent, and willing to try new things. We strive for excellence and try to do our best. We accept ourselves as we are, recognizing both our strengths and weaknesses. We work to improve ourselves, but are not perfectionists; we have realistic expectations for ourselves.
ENCOURAGEMENT VERSUS PRAISE
Encouragement is the most effective tool to build self-esteem. If we want to help build positive internal qualities, such as courage, confidence, a sense of purpose, or self-worth, we need to use words and phrases that focus on these positive, internal qualities.
Parenting advice often tells us to praise our children, but praise and encouragement are very different. When we read advice that tells us to praise our children, we need to look closely at how they define or explain praise. Often, what they call praise is actually encouragement. When we understand the difference, we can avoid common mistakes and use the tools to their full potential.
The way we word statements influences what others say to themselves. Encouraging words cause good feelings, so children naturally want to do better. Even when we disapprove of children’s behavior, encouragement lets them know we still unconditionally love and accept them as worth-while human beings. Praise is a conditional reward and motivates children to do better if they can please others or get a reward. This causes children to become dependent on others’ opinions for their self-worth.
88 The Parent’s Toolshop
First, let’s summarize the eight major differences between praise and encouragement. Then we’ll take a closer look at the specifics of each.
Comments are closed.