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.