Google+ Authentic Parenting: Modeling Positive Self Talk in Raising Confident Kids

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Modeling Positive Self Talk in Raising Confident Kids

By Theresa Harris, Founder, Thrive Art Online

‘Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative….’ Do you know this song? Some say focusing on the positive is the key to happiness. I happen to think it’s a great concept – one that’s become my mantra when teaching art to students and parenting my kids.

We want our children to have positive self-esteem. Why? When they feel knocked down – in life or on the playground – kids who have the inner strength and self-worth will be better equipped to separate other people’s actions from their own, and keep their heads held high. Our children are better than “good enough.” They are worthy of abundance.

Here are two ways parents can foster positive self talk in their kids to promote self-esteem:

1. Model it - Face it: Most of us have negative chatter cluttering our minds. The challenge is to interrupt it before we start spewing “verbal vomit” in front of our kids. This is easier said than done of course. I try to be conscious of positive modeling but I have at times missed the mark: I cringe knowing I have called myself “stupid” in front of my kids, modeling self-criticism rather than self-respect. Instead, what we want to do is make an effort to show our kids when we are proud of ourselves. When you do something you are proud of, let your kids know it! Show them it’s OK to celebrate a job well done – to be one’s own cheerleader – and to feel pride. When kids are empowered to pat themselves on the back, confidence builds from within.

2. Formalize It – In order to integrate the phrase “Articulate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative” into your family’s motto, write down behaviors that are supportive, and put them somewhere on the wall. Phrases like “be kind to self and others” and “think creatively” can serve as positive reminders in our homes every day. We do this at Thrive Art Online, by establishing a ‘judgment free zone’ for every art class. Check out our Parent Tip Video for more guidance on how to do this while creating art at home.

What a special gift it is to teach our children how to be gentle on themselves and empower them to work through the discomfort of problem solving and find their own solutions. Children can face all sorts of difficulties and challenges in life if they have unconditional self-love to come back to.

What kinds of things have worked well in your home? I’d love to hear your stories.

About the author: 
Theresa Harris is founder of Thrive Art School in Seattle and she just launched a Kickstarter project to gain support for Thrive Art Online, -an online video art program for kids. When she is not is playing legos and making messes with her two lively boys age 2 and 4, she loves to hike and paint with encaustics.


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