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Helping your kids be themselves

Helping your kids be themselves

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There is probably no better psychological gift than being loved for who we are. Most people’s experience is quite far away from this though, and many of us have learned to compromise our natural characters in favour of behaviour that we’ve come to learn to be more acceptable!

‘You’re great the way you are!’

Imagine the difference you could make to your children’s self esteem if you parented them with a consistent message of ‘you are great just the way that you are’! But how can this be possible whilst at the same time of giving them boundaries and healthy discipline I can hear you asking? Well read on for three clear ways to offer both firm but accepting and loving parenting.

Separate difficult behaviour

The first tip is to separate out difficult behaviour from the child themselves. What this means is when one of your kids does something that is dangerous, inappropriate or insensitive, you are careful with how you word your response. Rather than losing it and judging them as bad, thoughtless or unkind, find a way to explain that what they have done is not acceptable and why that is so. It sounds more complicated than it is, but really it is simply saying something like ‘when you spoke to me like that I felt hurt and what I’d like is for you not to call me XXX’ or ‘throwing toys is dangerous and I don’t want anyone to be hurt’.

It is such a small communication tool but the impact is enormous. It results in a child knowing what needs to change is their behaviour, rather than themselves and therefore not getting tied up in knots of feeling wrong about themselves.

Helping your kids be themselves


Practicing appreciation towards your children is invaluable in terms of helping them to feel good about themselves. Focusing on what you love about them and giving them feedback to remind them how valued they are, will help them to relax and trust that they have something worthwhile to offer in life.

Let them express

Lastly avoid trying to control their views and their reactions to things, instead see if you can encourage them to express their feelings and ideas and respond with genuine interest and acceptance and if they are vastly different to yours practice being curious rather than judgmental about what they are saying. Remember that we do live in a world that thrives on difference and that each of us including our children are on individual journeys through this life that can be extremely varied and surprising if we allow it!




About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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