For Mothers

For Mothers: building self respect

Nowadays, parents are often encouraged to build their children’s self esteem. 

But I think that does more harm than good. I think it’s far more helpful to our children when we build self respect. 

Self esteem and self respect are not the same thing, not at all.

Self esteem

When we praise our children, it builds their confidence. They may glow with pride and self esteem, but so often the praise is empty — built upon giving them a false impression or over estimation of themselves. 

Self esteem is the feeling of pride and superficial confidence in ourselves which is built upon what others have said of us. It is self- centred.

Self respect

Self respect is a sense of personal dignity; it is a recognition of our responsibility we aim to demonstrate in the world. It calls us to consider our place within society.

Self respect is a sense of inner confidence and integrity. It draws us to take ourselves seriously and is largely other-centred, built upon the results of our choices and decisions.

Building self respect within our children

When we respect our children, we encourage the growth of their own self respect. 

Telling children the truth demonstrates respect. Teaching them responsibility and the consequence of our actions — both positively and negatively — helps them to become respectful individuals. Listening to their concerns demonstrates respect. Insisting they be accountable for themselves teaches them self respect. 

Giving them what they want does not show respect, though it can show love, compassion and kindness.

Encouraging self respect

When we respect ourselves it shows our children we take ourselves seriously.

When we respect our children, it shows them we take them seriously.

Of course our expectations are age-relative but taking this into account: right from the start of life, I believe if we respect a child as a gift, a separate entity from us, a person of potential and possibility, we can teach him/her to be grateful,  personably responsible, eager and motivated to achieve what they are able to achieve in society.

A child is a blessing. Teaching this to our children will enable them to thrive with personal dignity and self respect…. and, ultimately, make a positive difference to their world one day.

For Mothers

For Mothers: Separation


For mothers, separation from our children can be stressful. We want our children to be safe and to learn independence as well. These two circumstances are important and healthy, but sometimes they seem contradictory. The days are gone when a young child can simply make his own way to his friend’s house or she can play in the local playground on her own. 

It’s sad to think children aren’t given the opportunities to stretch their independence as they used to, because it simply isn’t safe for them to be on their own. And yet, as they grow, our children need to learn how to be independent from parents.

And then they reach the pinnacle: leaving home! When the time comes for the first job or college or university some distance away, our young ladies and young men must strike out on their own.

How much can we expect them to keep in touch (or not)? And as mums, how much should we brave and bolster ourselves ahead of time, to prepare ourselves for the inevitable change we’re sure to meet the first time our offspring returns home after some weeks or months away?

This is where I’m at:

My son, as I’ve said in previous posts, is off to university in a couple this autumn. 

I want the best — the very best for him. I’m bracing myself for little communication, less information, and possibly a huge personality alteration.

I guess it’s good I’m aware of these possible changes, so that I can prepare myself and give room to my son to explore and express himself.

But I feel shaky at how on earth I’m going to feel when I see him after he’s experienced freshers’ week, campus life, physical freedom from external boundaries. My son is going off. Who will come back home again?

These are huge questions

I have no answers but I know I will manage.

How shall I cope? I am making two specific choices:

  1. I choose to trust my son, with the decisions he will make and
  2. I choose to trust what we, his mum and dad, have sown well and wisely into him over his life, so that he has the wisdom to make good decisions

I will have no control over his choices and as he’s an adult, nor should I. But therefore, the best thing I can do, for my own sanity and out of respect for him, is to trust him.

Separation may not be easy but when the time comes, trust and respect are the keys to help us to cope.