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Character Building: How Parents Choose Self-Esteem over Outbursts

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If you're a parent and you'd like to choose self-esteem over outbursts, it can be done. Self-esteem builds character. Outbursts tear it down. Keep reading to find easy ways to build self-esteem.

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; and the other is wings."

~ Hodding Carter

Choose Words that Promote Self-Esteem in Your Child

We help kids sprout wings by the words we choose. If our words build self-esteem, our children will fly high. If our words are harsh, it will be harder for them to get off the ground. Don't be upset if your temper occasionally flares. All parents get hot under the collar. If you blow up too often, keep reading.

Your words are powerful because you are the parent. Your approval counts. In fact, your children crave it.

When you use hurtful words, your children will replay them in their minds. They end up feeling bad about themselves and mad at you.

Wise Parents Use the Language of Self-Esteem

Parenting is difficult. Kids misbehave. Harsh words blast like fireworks. Sometimes they explode in one sentence after another. In the end, many parents feel regret and guilt. This doesn't have to happen.

Caring parents who choose to dampen their tempers see the larger picture. They see the consequences of their words. They use a kinder vocabulary.

Here's What Character Building Parents Choose Not to Say:


. "Can't you do anything right!"
. "Stop being a brat!"
. "You're so ungrateful!"

Kids have feelings too and want to be valued. When they hear angry words judging their character, they struggle inside themselves. If they hear critical words often, they close the door and lock their parents out. To stop their inner struggle they choose to believe the words and give up. What parents say does matter.

Here's What Self-Esteem Builders Might Say:


. "I don't think you understood. Let me help you."
. "Go to Time Out. Come out when you've found 3 ways to act better."
. "Please repeat that with gratitude."

During the years when I taught school, I chose a mindset that helped me when the kids were difficult. I told myself, "They're really good kids. They're just a little wild right now. Let's see how I can calm them down."

One way was to whisper to the class and write something on the board. It usually stoked their curiosity and they'd grow quiet. At other times, I'd get them out of their seats to stretch and sing a song.

One time I said nothing. Instead I drew 2 stick figured hangmen on the board. I wrote boys under one hangman and girls under the other. Then when a boy or girl acted up, I erase one body part. If a boy or girl sat tall, I added a body part. I laughed inside as those 5th graders yelled at each other to settle down. It was so much fun to see what silence and stick figures could do.

Conclusion for Choosing Self-Esteem over Outbursts

Here's the point, to cool your temper, change your mindset. Step backwards mentally and think about the bigger picture. See your kids objectively and tell yourself, "My children are really good kids."

Then think up creative ways to handle the situation. Maybe they need a nap. Perhaps a serious silent look from you or calm caring words will help your children act better. This is the easy way to become a self-esteem builder, promote character, and give your children wings for flying high.

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1. 80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Kids
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Be sure and pick up her Parents Affirmation Kit with 75 ways to build self-esteem in your kids.

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