Thursday, July 11, 2013

Building Your Child's Self-Esteem

Picture taken this morning before I dropped them off for the day.

This past week, Hannah and Leah have been participating in a summer day camp called Kanakuk Kampout. Kanakuk is a Christian sports camp located near Branson, Missouri. I was never able to attend there, but I knew many, many people who did and heard nothing but rave reviews. My cousins Kathryn, Deborah, Katie and Molly all went there every summer. Kathryn even went back as a counselor for several years. My girls are still a little too young for me to ship them to Missouri all by themselves for a few weeks, so when I heard that Kanakuk was doing a few day camps in our area, I was thrilled. Every day this week, I have dropped them off at 8:45 in the morning and picked them up at 4:00 in the afternoon. Their days have been filled with all kinds of typical camp activities like songs, chants, skits, and crafts. They also do small group devotionals and lots of outdoor activities such as zip lines, inflatable slip 'n slides, archery lessons, Euro Bungee jumping, and octoball (still not sure I understand this game, but the girls have described it as some version of softball).

This morning there was a "Mom's Coffee" right after I dropped my girls off, so I decided to attend. There was coffee (duh) and muffins and fruit, and the camp director and his wife talked for about an hour about "Building Your Child's Self-Esteem." I ended up taking notes and thought they made several good points. Some I had heard before, but needed to be reminded of, and others were new and gave me pause to consider how I can implement them. Here's an abbreviated version of the talk given this morning.

Four Gifts We Can Give Our Children to Build Their Self-Esteem:

1. The Gift of Community
--The greatest community your kids will be a part of is your family unit.
--Set and prioritize family traditions (i.e. dinner at the table each night, Friday night family movie night, bedtime routines, birthday/holiday traditions, game night, etc.)
--Set family standards (suggestion: have a night where you make a list as a family writing out what you stand for. Then you can refer to those in moments of discipline. "Remember, you are a Galloway. And us Galloways treat each other with respect, so I expect you to not hit your sister, even if she was bothering you.")
--Encourage strong sibling bonds (your siblings are your best practice for marriage later on--learning compromise, communication, sharing, etc.).

2. The Gift of Our Words
--A parent's words have the strongest influence over our children's lives.
--Praise your children often. But in that, try to look for ways to praise their character, not just their actions. ("I really like the way you showed compassion by playing with that little girl who was feeling left out.")
--Boys tend to communicate best shoulder to shoulder (taking an walk, playing a game, helping with a project) where girls tend to communicate better eye to eye (sitting across from them as you play tea party, listening to them as you tuck them in at night).

3. The Gift of Acceptance
-- Accept how your child is individually wired.
-- Accept their mistakes, but talk with them about what happened and what they could do differently the next time.
--Model humility (don't be afraid to go to them and say, "I'm sorry I lost my temper with you earlier. Will you forgive me?")
--Emphasize your unconditional love for them ("I will always love you even when you disobey." "Nothing you could ever do would make me stop loving you.")
* I thought the director shared a good point when he said he talked to his pre-teen daughter about modest vs. immodest clothes. He and his wife set the standard for clothing, but he said they told her she could experiment with her own choices within those parameters. Daisy Duke cut off jean shorts? No way. Purple sequined t-shirt with red leggings and lime green belt? Sure! Be creative!

4. The Gift of Prayer
-- Pray that your child realizes God's unconditional love for them
-- Pray that your child realizes his or her immense value
-- Pray for them not to have an easy life, but to have deep roots that can withstand the trials of this world.
-- Pray for wisdom in how you raise them

What do you think? Things you liked? Anything you want to add to the conversation?

Tomorrow is the girls' last day. It's been a great week!

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I'm always seeking to be a better parent and I'm going home tonight to share with the family. Thanks for sharing, Emily! Hi to the kids and Mike :)