Sharing the Positives with Our Little Ones

Am I pretty?

Am I pretty?

Have you noticed how many young men and women struggle with self-esteem?  There are constant self-challenging questions: “Am I pretty/handsome?”  “Am I smart?”  “Do others like me?” “Am I good at this?”

Once children become teenagers, it’s intensified, especially since there appears to be an increase in social media attacks – without the perpetrators seeming to understand the devastating effects this can have.  Is there a way we can help?  Yes.

As I’ve been observing family interactions, I’ve noticed that the children with a strong foundation seem the best equipped to weather the storm of peer criticism. So how do they get that strong foundation?  From the adults in their lives.

I know, I know.  Working full-time, dealing with house/money/repair, etc. issues can wear down even the strongest.  At the same time, this is when our children need us the most.  So here’s the good news:  It doesn’t really take a lot of time – just a bit of what I call “paying attention”.

As you spend the evening/weekend with your children, check your conversation.  Are you looking for that place you can make a positive observation? “Your room looks great!  Thanks for cleaning it.  You are such a great helper.”  How long does it take to say that? Go ahead – time it. 🙂  Yes!  Only Seconds.  And yet, what are the results?  You are helping your child create the armor that will deflect a peer’s criticism.  Way to Go!

How about this?  “You have the most beautiful hair!”  “I love your sense of humor.”  “I never thought of that!  You are so smart.”  Or, as I spoke about in my “positive touch” posting, give them a quick hug, or ruffle their hair with affection.

I’ve seen the power of this in action.  My granddaughter, Natie, was my first grandchild and the light of my life.  Grandmothers tend to have more time than a busy parent, and so I’ve noticed that when Natie comes to visit, sometimes she needs her emotional tank filled a bit.  She’ll ask me to tell her stories of herself as a little one (she’s eight now), and I share stories that show how smart, quick, helpful, pretty, etc. she is.  It’s so great to watch her smile, and her body relax and her tank become filled again.   (In fact, if you read older posts in this section, you’ll find lots of great “Natie stories”.)

So why not take a little time, and tell the children in your life all the ways you find them special?  Be sincere, and specific, and enjoy the life and light that shines from their face. It’s one of the most important and powerful things we can do.  And have fun doing it!


  1. Kathleen says:

    Beautiful! People are more likely to do this with adults (and often as mere flattery) because we can see a personal benefit from it. Much more important is to help young people focus on their true strengths — both more authentic and more productive than mere flattery.

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