9 Steps to Nurturing Self Love in Kids

This year my son turned five and made plans to attend kindergarten, both of which started me thinking of the big boy he is turning into.

mother and son hug

I've tried my best to support, encourage and nurture him so he can grow into a well adjust little boy and hopefully adult. But I still have some doubts if I did all I could or the right things at the right times.

I'm sure other parents have the same thoughts as they watch their children grow, so I wanted to share these 10 Steps to Nurturing Self-Love in Your Children by Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D. author of LOVE YOURSELF: THE MASTERY OF BEING YOUR OWN PERSON

  1. Practice Attachment/Emotional Parenting: Children who are provided as sense of well-being from infancy forward will spend the rest of their lives striving to keep this feeling. Children who are valued emotionally and given security, touch, eye contact and patience from birth become motivated to repair their sense of well-being when they lose it because it has already been integrated into their sense of self.
  2. Your child's self-love is taught it is not a "given": Assess how you were parented and learn to give your child what you were never given. Take note of what your parents did that was correct for you which built your self-image and take note of the things which did not build your self-image. Take what was good and give all of that and more to your child and take what did not work for you and avoid doing those things.
  3. Be Human: No one can be happy all the time and sometimes life is really hard but a parent's unhappiness can transfer over to their child because children look to their parents as a mirror for their own feelings. If you are having a rough time be honest with your child so they learn that emotions are natural and that life is full of up's and down's but let them know that you are strong enough to handle them and that you are ok with them.
  4. Be Playful with Your child. When you play with your child it gives them the message that they are worth your time effort and love. Children learn a lot through play and it improves their behavior by giving them a feeling of importance and accomplishment.
  5. Use your child's name: When you use your child's name this is a way of making them feel important. Use their name when you are giving them compliments, so they take that compliment as being directly related to their value. It tells them that they are real and special. Using their name also helps to soften discipline because you are making them a person not a faulty behavior.
  6. Rewards carry over. As your child gets older make sure to encourage and compliment their talents and interests. Celebrate them that they are able to do something well. As they get this feeling of gratification it will carry over and help them to be more open to try new things.
  7. Set your child up for success: Children assess their value by how they are perceived by others. It will be important to not let your child quit what they start but also not to force them to do what they really don't want to do. This balance helps your child to learn they must finish what they start but if they really aren't interested at the end. This is good for their exploration of their identity and also to learn the value of commitment.
  8. Home is always available: The child, as they grow, will have times of being attached to home and times of needing independence as they learn to become their own person. All children are going to need to periodically retreat into the comfort of their home where they feel safe to be vulnerable in between times of venturing out into the unknown. Home is where the emotions and vulnerabilities should be nurtured so the child can again get the fuel they need for independence.
  9. Give your child responsibilities: Children need jobs. One of the main ways children develop self-love, confidence and values is through helping maintain the family home. Giving children household duties helps them feel more valuable and it gives them a sense of accomplishment and reward. They can learn that hard work has reward and value.
In parenting children need three things. They require time, attention and listening. We can give children too many things but we can never give them too much love. When they are loved by their parents they learn to love themselves.

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