perfectThe second in a series of steps to take to build your child’s self-esteem

 Self-esteem, as you read in previous post , comes and goes — sometimes all of us feel good about ourselves and sometimes we don’t. Therefore, what we really need to teach our kids is resilience, so that they develop the skills to overcome their “Rabbit Hole” moments and reclaim their self-esteem. Here are the first 3 steps from the previous article to take when your child says the dreaded words, “I’m ugly”:

    • Step 1: Instead of Over-Reacting, Use Behavior Detective Techniques
    • Step 2: Become a Feelings Detective
    • Step 3: Find Out What’s Underneath “I Don’t Feel Pretty

               Now that you have tried steps 1-3 here is step 4:   Empower Your Child to “Climb Out of the Rabbit Hole”

    • If your child is stuck in a pit of bad feelings and thoughts, you can say:
    • “I see you fell down the Rabbit Hole. There are steps on the ladder, and I’ll show them to you so you can climb out.
    • ”By talking it out and working through the hard feelings step by step, and encouraging your child to recognize positive things about themselves, you are empowering them to climb out.

                   Step 5: Building Self-Esteem by Focusing on the Positive:

      • Ask your child, “What do you like about yourself, inside and outside?” Be sure to praise their efforts. They may forget the good things they’ve done, focusing instead on whatever went wrong. Remind them of the many things that make you proud of them.
      • Ask, “What are you good at? What do you love to do? What would like to do better? What do you want to learn that you haven’t tried yet?”Try taking your child to the mirror and actually having them point out what they love about themselves inside and outside ,focus on ineer qualities. (Kind Heart etc). If it’s hard, start by saying “I love your ________.  What do you love?

Step 6. Problem-Solving and Developing New Skills

    • At a certain point, just talking isn’t enough… you and your child need to develop new skills and devise ways to deal with problematic situations.After talking and figuring out the exact problem, ask your child, “How can we solve this together?” The older the child, the less you’ll need to offer suggestions. The solution may include spending more time alone with you or your partner, for example.When your child makes progress, here are three essential steps to follow:


    • Once you discover what’s underlying your child’s distress, it doesn’t have to evolve into a life long depression or self-esteem issue. You can rest assured that most upsets are rooted in unexpressed emotions, and have nothing to do with their looks. Whatever the situation, you now have at your fingertips the tools to help them identify and deal with their feelings correctly.The next time this happens, repeat these 6 steps, and before you know it, your child will learn how to “climb out” themselves!
    • Become Conscious of the Example You’re SettingOne of the best things you can do to promote a positive self-image for your child is to set a good example. Express appreciation for who you are, how you look, and dont talk about what you weigh. Your child watches you like a hawk, and often does what you do, not what you say.
    • Be honest — how often do you say, “Oh, I look awful today,” or “I gained two pounds, I hate myself.”? We tend to repeat these phrases out of habit, but they have much more impact on children hearing them often. Speak nicely to yourself in the mirror, and make positive changes in your own life, for example by eating more healthy foods, so your kids will follow in your footsteps.Quick Self-Esteem BoostersDid you and your child have a disagreement in which feelings got hurt? Here is a great way to help you both feel better:“I’m sorry that I said ______ and hurt your feelings.
      Say, “I really love it when you __________.


    • Say 5 nice things that each of you like about the other.
    • Another great way to boost your child’s self-esteem, and simultaneously teach them to handle their feelings, is to take mini-breaks with them during the day. In 5 minutes, you can point out what they are doing right, or address an emotion you think they’re experiencing, such as feeling neglected, left out, happy, or excited. This will help them to not only identify how they feel, but to learn that they can turn to you when they need help working through hard feelings.
    • Kids need reassurance of your unconditional love. So instead of saying, “Why can’t you be good?” or comparing them unfavorably to someone else, learn to say, with great frequency, “I love you no matter what you do.” You can add, “What can we learn to do better?”

Celebrate the positive, rather than simply providing encouragement for nothing. Explain, “I believe in you. Keep going. I know it’s hard.” Reward them so they develop incentives and begin to internalize a sense of approval.Every one of your children needs a few minutes alone with you to talk and play. However many kids you have, multiply that by five minutes or ten minutes each day, and let them know that it’s their special time. Use those moments to establish a dialogue, and soon they’ll feel comfortable coming to you with.

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About Ava

Ava Parnass, MSN CS, a.k.a. “The Kid Whisperer,” is an author, songwriter and child therapist who specializes in marrying entertainment and social-emotional literacy for kids. Ms. Parnass helps kids figure out and express their feelings through playing, talking, listening, reading, singing and dancing.

Her multi-media materials, books, and songs encourage parents and kids to read and sing along, in the process learning how awareness of “the power of feelings” can solve emotional problems and behavioral issues. Parenting is a hard job, and the books and songs really help kids and parents identify what is bugging them and change it.

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  1. Ava says:

    Thanks you so much for posting the articles I appreciate it. I would love to hear what Moms think:)
    I love this site!!!

  2. hiddenvalley713 says:

    It makes me sad we even have to have articles like this written for our kids, but since we do, these are well done

    • Ava says:

      Thanks for compliment! Yes its sad, but the alternative to not helping kids understand the feelings under their words leads to them feeling badly about themselves. They then run the risk of developing emotional problems and or acting out as teens.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    This is a great post

  4. Kadie says:

    I love this! I grew up hearing my mom say she was fat constantly. As a result, when I was a size 6 in high school I felt that I had to apologize for eating. The thing is, my mom never really looked overweight to me, I just thought I had to feel that way since she did and she wasn’t heavy.

6 Responses to “Mommy, I’m Ugly!” — Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem (Part 2)

  1. […] Related posts Building Your Child’s  Self-Esteem   part 1     part 2 […]

  2. Dr. Sally says:

    Self-esteem is soooo important. It is also abstract and not so easy to know how to boost it. Your ideas are clear, easy-to-follow, and very helpful. Just noticing when things are going right and then pointing out specifics related to what you see is one of my favorites. This is great work you are doing, and it is obvious from all your comments that many parents think so too.

  3. Ava says:

    Thanks so much for commenting DR Sally !
    I appreciate the comments and the compliments!
    Right back at you! I love your work too!

  4. I love your article Ava and your blurbs. I find it so essential to incorporate the arts into life and it is such a healing medium. I also have danced and painted my entire life, I just could not imagine my life without the inspiration and joy that comes from art.
    Check out this foundation we are raising money for to create an Art Gallery Space for children 🙂 Click ‘About’ for details!

  5. Ava Parnass says:

    Thank you Dr. Gisell for your comment and I followed your page.
    What a great idea to raise money for an art gallery space for kids!

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