Monday, February 15, 2010

Trampoline of Self-Esteem

February is National Boost Self-Esteem Month. High self-esteem is sometimes compared to an umbrella that shelters a child from harmful choices and unhealthy risks. There is an old image, maybe from an ancient Mother Earth News, of a child under an umbrella marked “Self-Esteem,” and it shielding her from drugs, alcohol, violence, promiscuity, suicide and addiction. All of those scary labels are coming down from the sky like rain. Yikes! Comparing self-esteem to a trampoline feels better. Self-esteem as a trampoline gives a child the bounce to stretch herself in the world, to take healthy chances, and to rebound when things don’t go as she had hoped. The trampoline metaphor has a much more empowering energy. Y ou can reach for the sky rather than protect yourself from things falling from it. You can jump!

We parents can benefit from a few jumps on that trampoline from time to time. In our efforts to effectively discipline to build our child's self-esteem, we sometimes forget about our own. When you really think about it, fostering respect and appreciation in our relationships – especially those with our children – begins with fostering respect and appreciation in our relationship with our self.

For parents who wish to discipline for high self-esteem: Listen more and monitor your tone of voice when speaking with your children.

Trampoline for Parental Self-Esteem: Listen more to you – your body, emotions and inner dialogue – and check out the tone of voice you use in your inner dialogue. Is your body relaxed or stressed? Are you composed or upset? Is your self-talk encouraging or discouraging? Does your inner tone of voice sound respectful and appreciative or sarcastic and diminishing? You are the only one who can listen to your body, emotions and inner dialogue. There is no one else who can. It is your gift. Begin by spending five minutes each morning and evening listening to you. You deserve to be heard! After listening, care for yourself. Care for your body. Care for yourself emotionally. Become self-encouraging so that your self-talk is full of kind, caring words.

For parents who wish to discipline for high self-esteem: Give your children choices.

Trampoline for Parental Self-Esteem: Give yourself choices so that you do things because you “get to” rather than because you “have to”. You get to cook dinner or you get to say that you don’t want to cook dinner. You get to take your child to piano practice or you get to request that someone else take your child to practice because there is something you would like to do. Exercise your choices. Ask for what you want.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The world only exists in your eyes – your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to." The view from the trampoline is a big wide open sky. Come on and jump!

No comments:

Post a Comment