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How to raise your children's self esteem

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MarisaPeer Fri 13-Jan-17 19:18:28

One of my Trainees did this with her son, and I thought it was so lovely and so incredibly effective and I wanted to share it with anyone else who would like to do this using 50ps or 20ps.

Teaching my son that he is enough (LONG POST, but I think it’s worth reading)

My 16 yo son has given me his approval to share this, without his picture

This is an update to share for those from my November class with Marisa, and to share with those not there.

My son is really a great kid. Not any trouble at all. Handsome. Smart. Independent. Yet, he had an awful habit of talking very poorly to himself – things which we had never said to him, like ‘I know, I’m a bad kid. I suck.’ Of course, this was heartbreaking.

I decided to do something different and to try to help him to get in the habit of saying NICE things to himself. I had previously watched a video with Maria talking about ‘I am enough’. I knew this had a profound effect on me, so I looked for a way to try to incorporate this in my son’s life. I told him that that I would give him a quarter for every nice thing he said about himself. He said he didn’t need a quarter, so I offered that he could do it for free – or for a quarter. He decided on the latter.

At first, SHOCKINGLY, he didn’t even know what to say! So, I told him to repeat after me. ‘I am enough.’ ‘I am smart.’ ‘I am helpful.’, etc. With each nice thing, I handed him a quarter. I gave him a small cup and had him put them in the cup. He wanted to know if he could spend them. I was reluctant, as I wanted him to SEE the progress. He said, ‘What’s the use, then?’ I ended up telling he could substitute them with something else (like paperclips). He didn’t.

Each day I would help him to say nice things and would repeat them back to him. Eg He would say, ‘I am determined’, I would hand him a quarter, and I would say, ‘Yes, you ARE determined!’ He only likes to have to say 4 nice things each day. We start with 1 before school and the rest were later in the day. Eventually, he was able to say them on his own. Sometimes, (this still happens) if he was having a rough day, I saw that he couldn’t think of anything nice to say. At that point, I would say, repeat after me, ‘I am enough’, he would repeat, and I would continue the rest of our ‘routine’ for the other 3 compliments.

This didn’t go without a couple of bumps – 2 major ones. One time, we were out to dinner and I thought I would take that opportunity to have him say his nice things. He lashed out and told me that he HATED being around me, because I made him do that. I was so stunned! I was just trying to help him, with what I thought was an amazing gift. I became very quiet and didn’t know what to say. I thought ‘This is NOT working!’ I didn’t want our relationship to be like that. So, I told my husband that I wasn’t going to do that anymore. He asked if I was going to let our 16 yo son tell me how to parent. I knew my son regretted saying that, so I gave him space until the next night. I then quietly asked if he’d still like to ‘do the quarter thing’. He said yes. This happened one other time and, again, I gave him a little space and invited him to continue doing it. He again said yes.

One day, he said ‘I am enough’, to which I replied ‘You ARE enough’, and gave him a quarter. We continued with a couple more of his self-compliments and I responded ‘Yes, you ARE (helpful, smart…). One time though, I DIDN’T say ‘Yes, you ARE (a great kid)’ and just handed him the quarter. He said, ‘Hey, you didn’t say ‘Yes, you are!’’ Of course, I remedied that right away, but realized how important it was, not only for him to say it, but to have me validate it. I had no idea that when I did that, that it even mattered.

The self-compliments (quarters) started to add up. We went to a larger cup, then a larger one, then a large vase. Any time Jordan would comment on how many quarters he had, I would respond ‘Look how many nice things you’ve said about yourself!!’

There were times when he would make designs with his quarters on the counter. Some were small pyramids, other times various stacks. That was fun!

Mostly, it’s been fun to see the changes in him. He RARELY says anything negative to himself. If he does, he has to say 3 FREE nice things about himself. He’s kinder. Nicer to himself, to others (including his brothers and sisters), and to his dog. All in all, he’s just nicer to be around.

So, on Monday night, Jordan dumped out his quarters and started creating this pyramid of self-compliments – and I wanted to share this success. He has said 560 nice things to himself, and still counting!!! 560! He didn’t used to say ANY!

I attended Marisa’s class because I want to make a difference in people’s lives and in the world. I am thrilled to say that nothing matters more than making a difference in the life of my son!

I’m grateful to Marisa – for helping me to see that I am enough! And, as a result, giving me an opportunity to teach my son that HE IS ENOUGH! I KNOW that this is changing his life, his experience, his future. What a gift! Eternally thankful!!

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