Sunday, May 27, 2007

Self Esteem and Confidence

I have an elementary school-aged daughter. And I'm amazed at how well she carries herself. She seems comfortable in her skin. A feeling I don't think I had at that age. And I've always wondered what it was in my growing up that made me so self-conscious, that made me so insecure. My parents were very affectionate and, even if not often verbally affirming, made me feel loved.

What can I do as a parent to give her the self-confidence I lacked?

I've read books. I've read articles. I've done my own brand of self-analysis. :) And I truly can't figure out what I can do. Or what my husband can do (although I suspect he may play as big if not bigger role). Or even what her older brothers can do.

But here are a few of the things I've come up with to try (and I do this with all my children, actually, not just my daughter):

To praise her freely and often.
To praise her for her her beauty but more often for her brains (and her kindness, her loving nature, her generosity, etc.).
To love myself so she'll be able to model that. (I just had that confirmed on Oprah!)
To tell her she's made in God's image, that God made her just the way she is, and that God doesn't make mistakes.
To tell her she can do anything she wants when she grows up.
To tell her she's a tough cookie. (And she is after growing up with two older brothers. She knows how to handle boys better than I ever did. She's "got their number".)
To keep her involved in physical activities so she'll feel good about her body--ie. sports or dance or horseback riding.
To make sure her brothers compliment her and build her up. (My husband does this already. He's a great "builder-upper".)
To teach her to care more about others so she'll look outward and not inward.

Hmmm. Maybe I should try to write a non-fiction book! :)

I know the world will give her lots of knocks. We can't help that. It's just the way life is. But maybe with God's help, she'll have a strong foundation and will hold firm in believing that she's a unique, loved child of God.

Like she feels right now.

I pray for safety and protection of her amazing spirit.

Missy

6 comments:

Belinda Peterson said...

Missy,

You and your husband have done a lot raising your girl. She's precious. I like your advice on what to do.
They are very good suggestions. We can all implement them with the people we love.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Missy,

It sounds like our daughters' are close to the same age. We are also trying to build Celina's self-esteem. This has been a challenge because of her early seizures and her delayed developments as a result.

God has made so many huge improvements in Celina's self-esteem since we moved. My husband turned to me one day a month ago and said, "What if God gave you this new job just to move us down here for her?" Looking at all the fruit we're seeing blossom in her life, my husband may really be onto something.

Your suggestions are wonderful! Maybe we can write that nonfiction book together!? Prayer, I've learned is the main ingredient to all of it.

Jenn

Missy Tippens said...

Amen on the prayer, Jenn!

And Lindi, I guess they never get too old to have to worry about building them up. I bet you still have to do it. :)

Missy

tinam said...

I heard once in a bible study on Leah, that it is important that a girl know she is the apple of her father's eye. A girl who is esteemed by her father doesn't spend the rest of her life trying to fill that empty space.

I am amazed on a daily basis how confident my daughter is. She lost her dad when she was 13, but she was the apple of his eyes. She makes choices that tell me she values herself, and I envy her at 21 for being in such a good place psychologically.

Tina

Missy Tippens said...

Tina, you must have done a great job on making her feel like she's the apple of your eye, too. I'm sure there was a lot of personal formation going on after age 13. I bet you helped instill that confidence. You've done a great job!

Missy

Angela Breidenbach said...

You are totally on the right track Missy. I'd add one thing, give her the freedom and encouragement to be adventurous. Teach her to try new things and enjoy exploring new adventures. When she fails, that's one more step toward success.
Angie