Self-Esteem

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Here is a fantastic story that I came across the other day. It moved me so much that tears ran down my face.

I thought you may be touched by it too, so here it is…

An Hour Of Time

Tim was disappointed that his father didn’t attend the last soccer game of the season, but he wasn’t surprised. Tim was a mature 10-year old and he understood that lots of clients depended on his dad, a lawyer, who had to work most nights and weekends. Still, it made him sad, especially since this year he won the league’s most valuable player award.

One evening Tim got up the nerve to interrupt his father’s work at home to ask him how much lawyers make per hour. His father was annoyed and gruffly answered, "They pay me $300 an hour."

Tim gulped and said, "Wow, that’s a lot. Would you lend me $100?"

"Of course not," his father barked. "Please, let me work."

Later, the father felt guilty and went to Tim’s room where he found him sobbing. "Son," he said, "I’m sorry. If you need some money, of course I’ll lend it to you. But can I ask why?"

Tim said, "Daddy, I know your time is really worth a lot and with the $200 I’ve already saved, I’ll have enough. Can I buy an hour so you can come to the awards banquet on Friday?"

It hit his father like a punch to the heart. He realized his son needed him more than his clients did. He needed to be there for his son more than he needed money or career accolades. He hugged him and said, "I’m so proud of you, nothing could keep me away."

Lots of parents are stretched to their limit trying to balance business demands and family needs. It’s always a matter of priorities. But if we don’t arrange our lives to be there for our children, they will regret it – and after it’s too late, so will we.

This story is derived and adapted from one that was circulated on the Internet without attribution. The original source is unknown.

Michael Josephson
www.charactercounts.org

 


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I just don’t get it! In this modern-day-in-age where empowerment, equality and enlightenment are at the forefront in every parents’ mind, why the heck are the toy store aisles filled with shallow, sexist, less than innocent toys for our children!!

I was absolutely amazed!

The other day my two children Willow 10, Fisher 7 and I had some time to kill while waiting for some computer repairs, so we decided to hang out at the Toys R Us next door.

The kids had a few bucks to spend, but we were there more to check things out than to buy, so we went up every aisle to see what there was.

Man… are the gender roles clearly marked out for kids!

Boys are supposed to play sports, like fast cars, be superheros and even warriors.

Girls are supposed to like pink, be a princess, grow up to be a ‘hottie’ and be a bitch about it.

Just look at what’s available for our kids.

Want a kid’s TV? Batman or Hot Wheels for boys. Hot pink Barbie for girls.

Want to build something? Better be a boy, not much available for the girls.

How about a craft? With the exception of Crayola all crafts seem to be geared towards the girls, and most of them tacky.

And the dolls. Doesn’t the name ‘Bratz’ say it all? Where are the wholesome everyday dolls?

When my daughter saw the Bratz campfire set, she said, "Ewe! Too much make-up and who would wear a skirt and high heels camping anyways?"

Don’t even get me started with the Bratz Big Babies. Black leather,  lacy lingerie and heavy makeup on a doll for 3 year olds? Who’s making that stuff? Who’s buying it?

I’m not slamming Toys R Us, the kids both love GameBoy, and Lego and stuffed animals and bikes.

I’m just asking the question, "If we all don’t want self-centered, materialist, smutty daughters, or violent, chauvinistic, fast driving sons, then why is there a market for toys that are?"

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As most of you already know, I am crazy about kid’s art and art projects for kids that build confidence and self-esteem.

I feel it is very important for children to have the opportunity to create art in their own ‘voice’. To discover who they are, what they can do and what is interesting to them personally.

It is important to discover these things in a creative and supportive environment. One where they are not judged and where the process of creating the art is more important than the actual result.

You’ve heard it said before, "It’s the journey, not the destination."

This morning I was reading an article about an art teacher that teaches summer art programs for kidsout of her barn-turned-studio. She creates an environment where the children are free to create art their own way using a variety of techniques and materials.

My favorite line from the article is something the teacher said about what is important to her in teaching kids art.

"I want the kids to learn that art is about losing your inhibition, expressing yourself, about not looking around the room to see if you’re doing it the right way," she said.

If you are reading this blog you probably already agree about the importance for art in our society, but there are many people who don’t realize how the creation of art and the skills learned, can benefit other areas of their child’s learning and development.

When your child discovers they can run their fingers through blobs of paint to mix colors, they find out how new colors are made. (Science)

When they attempt to tape CD’s to a box to make wheels for a cardboard car and they fall off, they see that glue can be stronger than tape. (Physics)

When they cut out a rectangular paper door for their paper ‘House Collage’ and realize it is too big to fit, they learn to look back and forth to their original for reference. (Math, Measuring & Surface Area)

And when your child creates something beautiful using their own two hands that makes their heart sing, they begin to understand that they are capable and that they can make a difference. (Self-Esteem)

So throw a big pile of art supplies on the table and let your child create whatever their heart feels like creating.

You will not only be giving them something to do, but will be giving them the freedom to learn… in their own way!

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(For those of you over thirty ‘Chill-ax’ means to be cool and relax . Something we are going to have to do as parents if we really want our kids to succeed.)

 

Are we putting so much pressure on our kids to succeed that it’s bound to blow up in our face?

I know we all mean well but the pressure that we are putting on our kids these days is getting so intense it is taking its toll on their lives.

Many children are growing up, never feeling quite adequate or up to our standards. It’s causing depression, stress and a lack of self-confidence in our children. Exactly the opposite to what we are trying to create in our kids.

There is even a  term for this style of parenting;  ‘helicopter parenting’ which comes from the constant hovering over everything our child does.  An excellent article worth the read on this subject is called "How pushy parent syndrome can leave you depressed".

Here’s a quote from the article that particularly hit home with me:

"The most dangerous feelings a child can have are of self-hatred, yet middle-class parents are unwittingly instilling those feelings by expecting so much,’ she said. The ‘helicopter’ parent insists on meddling in every area of their child’s life, for example by going into school to challenge a teacher about a mark their child has received.

But they are actually hampering their children’s development by denying them opportunities to deal with difficult situations.

‘Kids aren’t having the experiences that are mandatory for healthy child development – a period of time to be left alone, to figure out who you are, to experiment with different things, to fail, and to develop a repertoire of responses to challenge,’ Dr Levine said. "

How do you feel about this hovering trend? Are you a helicopter parent?

 

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I know it sounds strange, but over praising your child’s artwork can actually hinder the development of positive self-esteem rather than support it.

Just as you would tend to become suspicious of a friends’ motives if they were constantly praising everything you did, "Ooh I love you hair and your clothes and your house and your kids and your husband!!!!"… Your child will quickly disbelieve your sincerity if you are constantly saying "Oh you’re a fantastic artist, I could never do as well as you!"

Being an artist I have a great interest in my children’s art. I found myself constantly telling my daughter what a fantastic artist she was and how she would probably end up to be a much greater artist than me. Surely that couldn’t hurt her, to tell her that?! After all it’s true and it encourages her to aim high right?

Well it never really dawned on me that this could be a problem until my son started drawing. Being three years younger it took awhile before he started to get good enough for her to consider him competition. But then one day he got bigger.

She started asking, "Am I a better drawer than Fisher? Mine is a lot better right? Who’s art do you like better, Fisher’s or mine?"

This behavior worried me because I wanted her to be confident in her artwork and I didn’t want her to feel she was in competition with anyone, especially her brother.

I also worried about how it made her brother feel. Being smaller he was already ‘behind in skills’ as far as he was concerned, so he really didn’t need his sister always talking about how much better she was.

So how do you encourage your child to continue creating art without over doing the praise and causing self-esteem issues?

Well after reading several articles, parenting books and magazines I have discovered it is more important to admire the development of skills instead of the work itself.

Try saying things like, "I like the way you used the side of your crayon to get texture in your drawing. I’ve noticed you are adding more detail to your drawings than you used to. I like the way the dog looks like he’s smiling in your picture."

An article I read today called "How can praise be negative?" is an excellent article on exactly this issue of over praising your child. Take a moment and read it. It has some great ideas that may help you give your child the type of praise that will build his self-esteem instead of tearing it down.

By the way, I’ve noticed a big difference in the way my children see themselves and their artwork since handling the praise I give them a little differently. Maybe it will work for you too!

 

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