Monday, April 13, 2009

A Few Things I Have Been Taking Notes On...

I have found some great things this past winter for my family's well-being. Constantly on the look-out ...these are a few things to share...

These are my book notes from Boost Your Child’s Self-esteem by Karin Ireland, 2000. ISBN: 0-425-17295-3
1. Find something positive to say to your child every morning before school.
2. Look for ways to be a partner with your child.
3. Teach your child how to solve problems (id what the problem is, decide what she wants the problem to be, determine the steps that need to be taken to reach that solution, decide if she can take the steps alone or if she needs help, if she needs help decide who is the best qualified –not nearest or easiest to ask – is, look for something the person she asks will gain by helping her, ask for the results she wants).
4. When correcting your child, speak from your heart, not your ego.
5. Don’t finish your child’s thoughts for her.
6. Look for the message behind your words.
7. Focus on the positive.
8. Listen to your child. Ask questions to encourage her to say more.
9. Teach your child to be honest.
10. Practice what you preach.
11. Accept her offers for help.
12. Applaud her efforts. Even the messy ones.
13. Put yourself in your child’s shoes.
14. Practice having a good day (and help her learn she’s in control, that she can choose to be happy)
15. When your child tells you how she feels, don’t tell him how she should feel instead.
16. Encourage your child to talk about what she wants instead of what she doesn’t.
17. Let it be okay for your child to disagree.
18. Show your child you’re a ‘can do’ family.
19. Know the values you want your child to have.
20. Demonstrate the values you want your child to have.
21. Pick a value each week and practice it every day.
22. Don’t make your child feel guilty for wanting what she wants or for being who she is.
23. Say ‘yes’ whenever you can.
24. Help her learn to be okay with ‘no’ (say it kindly, the way you would want her to say it to you).
25. Let your child know she is special to you.
26. Give gifts that boost self-esteem (write down 101 things you love about your child and give it to her, make a DVD of friends telling why she’s their friend, make a CD saying why you are glad she’s your daughter, hand her a card that says “I’m glad you’re part of my life” or “I love knowing you” or some other positive message)
27. Teach your child to appreciate the difference between people.
28. Encourage your child to ask questions about rules and ethical decisions.
29. Help your child realize she has choices.
30. Start with the end in mind (make a list of all the things you want her to be and note what you can do to help her, list what you are doing right now that might make it hard for her to develop a desired trait, list what you are not doing that you could be doing right now, check the things you will start or stop today).
31. Encourage your child to be creative about what she wants (teach creative persistence).
32. Don’t use shame to control your child.
33. Show respect for your spouse (your child will unconsciously mimic the relationship habits she sees now; you give the gift of showing how well relationships can work).
34. Teach basic good manners and demonstrate them.
35. Encourage your child’s sense of humor.
36. Make most of your interactions with your child positive.
37. Don’t tell your child her fears are silly.
38. Smile at your child and hug her.
39. Assume she’s right before you assume she’s wrong.
40. Show your child how to ask for help.
41. Applaud improvement.
42. Eliminate words that hurt.
43. Encourage your child’s questions.
44. Don’t assume your child knows what to do (if your child regularly misses a step or two of a chore, remind her of what you need her to do with words that don’t make her feel lazy or stupid).
45. Examine gender stereotypes with your child (encourage her to tell you when she hears them so you can counteract those messages with positive ones).
46. Be willing to explain bad words.
47. Teach your child to visualize what she wants instead of what she doesn’t (let her know you are looking forward to being successful at your next assignment instead of worrying about it).
48. Will it matter 10 years from now? (if some little annoyance gets in the way, ask if it will matter in 10 years that she did something, if not, let it go)
49. Enjoy your child (and let her know you think she’s fun to be around.
50. Communicate clearly.
51. Let go of old mistakes.
52. Let your child help make family decisions.
53. Encourage your child to keep a success journal (nightly writing that helps her to identify her daily successes to unconsciously over-ride negative things she is told my others).
54. Help your child fit in.
55. Treat your child the way you’d treat a special friend (honor your child’s trust, respect her and her privacy, look for ways to say yes more than no).
56. Teach your child to set goals.
57. Affirmations help boost self-esteem (Math/spelling/history just seems to get easier for me every week, I always seem to be able to figure out what I need to know in order to do what I need to do, every day I notice several big or little ways I am successful, sometimes I amaze myself with all the things I know, I get better every day at remembering the things I need to remember).
58. Attack the problem, not the child (ex:”There are still a lot of things on the floor and I think you can find someplace to put them” instead of “Can’t you see this room is still a mess?”)
59. Team sports can boost self-esteem.
60. Teach your child that neatness counts.
61. Help your child value who she is more than what she does.
62. Don’t compare your child with other people.
63. Catch your child in the act of doing something right and make it a big deal.
64. Encourage your child to share her success with you.
65. “Sandwich” complaints can backfire (she will begin to expect that every compliment will be bundled with a complaint – leave off the compliment, start off with the complaint and finish with a compliment instead).
66. Don’t confuse a quiet child with a good child.
67. Rethink some of your beliefs about parenting.
68. Encourage your child to try things just for fun.
69. Respect your child. Be someone she can respect.
70. Be a good role model of the attitudes you want your child to have.
71. Encourage your child to be a good listener.
72. Help your child be positive about the future.
73. Expect your child to succeed.
74. Nurture your child’s special gifts.
75. Provide a home that’s physically safe.
76. Provide a home that’s emotionally safe.
77. Say thank you.
78. Teach your child to think before she makes a promise.
79. Be a detective (behavior has a message and if your child is behaving in a way that’s inappropriate, discover what the message is).
80. Eat dinner together every night.
81. Don’t redo the things your child does.
82. Give your child chores to do that boost her self-esteem.
83. Raise your child’s self-esteem: praise her, respect her opinions (even if you disagree), ask for her advice, notice when she does something well and compliment her on it, tell her you love her, let her be appropriately independent, monitor her schoolwork and get her help if she needs it, expect her to succeed, guide her to activities in which she will succeed.
84. Be aware of things that lower self-esteem: parents’ disapproval, parents fighting or divorce (uncertain future), difficulties with friends, a change in friends, difficulties with a teacher, difficulties with schoolwork, negative family or friends, believing she is different in a negative way, criticism
85. Look for discipline that teaches instead of punishes.
86. Focus on who your child is instead of who she isn’t
87. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong
88. Take advantage of time-outs (your own)
89. Good parenting doesn’t mean creating a perfect child
90. Teach your child how to resolve conflicts
91. Honor your promises
92. Set your child up for success
93. Show your child she’s important to you
94. Don’t use guilt to control your child
95. Don’t let your child use guilt to control you
96. Listen for the difference between guidance and criticism
97. Take time to play with your child
98. Help your child learn to cope with setbacks
99. Remind your child often of her past successes
Encourage Independence:
1. Able to complete homework assignments without your monitoring?
2. Able o communicate clearly enough to call stores o inquire if they have a special item she’s looking for?
3. Can she pack her own bag for an overnight stay with a friend?
4. Can she choose the clothes she wants to wear?
5. Can she fix some of her own meals?
Behavior Adjustment
1. Ask for your child’s help in solving her behavior problems
2. Don’t slap, shake, or spank your child
3. Find alternatives to physical punishment
4. Eliminate teasing, labeling, and practical jokes that hurt
Look for reasons to Praise your child.
Help your child develop a good memory.
De-stress before you get home.
Teach your child appropriate ways to express anger.
Teach her how to plan and complete a project.
Teach your child to be comfortable with change.
Encourage your child to read.
Teach your child how to manage money.
Ask lots of ‘what would you do if’ questions.
Encourage your child to discover her own solutions.
Save great schoolwork.
Teach your child to recognize what stresses her and to do something about it.
Try to correct your child in private.
Sometimes do less for your child and more with her.
Let your child know it is okay not to be perfect.
Look for ways to show your child you love her.
Teach your child to trust her perceptions (if someone is telling the truth, if a group will work well together, whether or not a place is safe).
Teach your child to feel and trust her feelings.
Encourage your child to set personal boundaries (respect her boundaries to show that she is worthy of respect and that she deserves her needs to be met).
Help your child evaluate fear instead of stuffing it inside or backing away.
Ask your child for her opinion.
Tell your child the story, “The Day You Were Born…”
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first (emphasize practice and persistence).
Teach if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
Understand where your parenting rules come from.
Keep your expectations reasonable. Talk with your child about your expectations.
Play games that boost self-esteem.
Occasionally change the filter through which you see your child.
Avoid these messages that lower self-esteem:
1. Body language that shows you are disappointed, exasperated, disapproving, uninterested or in any other way withholding approval.
2. Comments like ‘Who do you think you are’ and ‘Why do you think you are so special’.
3. Labels (shorty, lazy, klutzy)
4. Indifference toward her when she wants your attention.
Try not to pass along your fear to your children:
1. There is never enough money for all our needs.
2. Most people are not honest.
3. Most people will take advantage of me if I’m not alert.
4. If I don’t struggle, I won’t succeed.
5. People like us don’t have what it takes to succeed.
Respect your child’s opinions even when you disagree.
Let your child experience the consequences of her behavior.
Teach your child about personal integrity.
Don’t always minimize your child’s troubles and fears. Don’t “disasterize” them either.
Encourage your child to be himself.
Send ‘you are special’ messages to your child regularly.
Let your child know you love her no matter what.
Don’t expect your child to learn every lesson the first time.
50 Messages that Boost Self-Esteem:
1. I love you.
2. Keep up the good work.
3. You did a great job.
4. Thank you for…
5. You’re a great kid.
6. I’m glad you’re my daughter.
7. You are one of my favorite people.
8. What would I do without you?
9. Thank you for doing that with me.
10. You can do it.
11. I believe in you.
12. You’re fun to be with.
13. Excellent!
14. I admire the way you did that.

15. You're so clever.

16. I really appreciate you.

17. Thanks for your help.
18. You figured that out nicely.
19. Good job on that paper.
20. You look nice.
21. Keep up the good work.
22. I always know you can figure things out.
23. I trust you.
24. You’re one of the best __________ I know.
25. I admire you for the work you do on your school assignments.
26. I really appreciate your help.
27. I love having you as my daughter.
28. I really like spending time with you.
29. I know you can do it.
30. You did a great job again.
31. You were really brave to do that.
32. I like the way you handled that situation.
33. You can do whatever you set your mind to.
34. Congratulations!
35. You’ve really gotten good at_____________.
36. You’re really special.
37. You have great ideas.
38. I admire your patience.
39. I’m amazed at how quickly you figured that out.
40. Thank you for remembering.
41. You’re right.
42. I never thought of it that way.
43. Your friends are lucky to have you.
44. I heard a compliment about you today…
45. You are so good at ____________.
46. I’m really proud of you.
47. You’re terrific.
48. I trust your judgment about that.
49. I love your sense of humor.
50. You really contribute a lot to this family.


I have been working pretty consistently at reducing my daughter's TV watching time. I started by making her art supplies, including paint and play-dough, accessible to her all the time, and without supervision. (I am working on my bravery badge-- think I got it yet?) I duplicated many of my art/craft supplies that she liked so that she wouldn't pillage my stuff. This translates in to having in her own little craft area, 12x12 decorative papers, punches, decorative cut scissors, rubber stamps and ink, glues, tape in a dispenser, googly eyes, pompoms, beads and decorative cords, fabrics, and card-making blanks. I have found that her supplies have to be as good as mine or she will still want my stuff!

My husband and I have purposely not put a television in her bedroom. She does, however, have volumes of children's literature and music on CDs. She has a CD player that she can operate herself and often plays something while she is playing in her room.

She has a couple of Leap Frog toys so that she can use a keyboard when we are in the office on the computer or use a hand-held game when I am checking my messages on my phone. She likes to do what we are doing.

I am hoping that her time being spent in creative play and learning will keep her interested in something that requires thinking. I love TV and watched tons of it when I was little, so I don't think it will destroy her mind [cue the Hulu commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m71m-LBqFQ]. I do, however, remember having more fun when I was making something or trying something new.

So... are you shocked that there was not one religious message today? I'll remedy that. *smile* Check this resource for children's Bible stories http://gardenofpraise.com/bibleles.htm. I mention religion even when the author does not because it ties in perfectly with self-esteem. The beauty of Christianity is not just the big stuff (salvation, relationship with God) but also the little things like knowing you are not alone, deciding to love others, learning forgiveness, learning the art of meditation through prayer, giving yourself permission to re-charge, finding hope when things look bad, not to mention that little life guide, the Bible, which can be a great how-to book for finding purpose, happiness, and hope. (And who hasn't been in a place in their lives where that was a welcome feeling!) I really believe that parents who place God in their homes, who help their children find God in their hearts, and who give their kiddos a good example to follow will help them to forgo so many problems later in life and enable them to deal with the human and inevitable pain they cannot escape. At least, I hope so! (Check my daughter in 20 years!)

And now, something extra for your glittering eyes:
Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future. A child’s self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry. --STEPHANIE MARTSON, The Magic of Encouragement

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