You and your child: raising your self-esteem
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Virginia Sherborne MBACP (Accred.)
20th July, 2010
If you are agonising about your relationship with your kids, maybe because you’ve had some difficult situations with them recently, try to think of the relationship as like a Bank. Over the years, you pay in to the Relationship Bank every time something goes right. So every time you give your child a hug, every time you read them a story, or make them laugh, or wipe away their tears, you build up more Credit. Then, when the going gets tough, and you have a row, or they won’t listen to you, or embarrass you, or shout “I hate you!”, or you let them down, there’s a Debit from the Relationship Bank. All the Credit you’ve built up will help cushion you and your child against the Debits. This idea can stop you feeling it’s the end of the world when a difficult situation happens.
One aspect to having high self-esteem is being able to be assertive. This means putting your views across or expressing your needs without becoming aggressive. An effective way to do this is to use an “I-message”. This means stating the emotion you feel (“I feel let down…”) then the reason, stated non-judgementally, (“because the kitchen has been left in a mess…”) and the tangible effect on you (“…and now I will have to spend a long time clearing it all up”).
Know your own values. Really think through what is important to you and why it is important. Be prepared to explain this to other people, but don’t necessarily expect to change their minds if they disagree with you. Also, don’t necessarily expect to change your views to match theirs. But as you go through life, keeping checking your values, and be willing to update them. Working from a set of well-understood personal values will give you a sense of inner strength and boost your self-esteem.
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