Every parent desires to see their children grow up to be confident, resilient and successful adults – and this comes from giving appropriate affirmation to build up their self-worth and esteem. Every child needs to feel and believe that they are loved. And as parents, we need to give that message of affirmation regularly, through the stages of development in our child’s life.
While both parents play equally important roles in this endeavour, mothers are often more inclined towards the role of giving care and affection to the child, while fathers take on the role of “play buddy” or the disciplinarian. While each parent should play to their strengths, it is good to share these tasks, and not segment their parenting roles strictly. In fact, in the case of fathers, research[i] has shown that children who have involved fathers tend to have better cognitive ability and are better problem solvers.
Dads, these are some self-esteem boosters to try with your child today:
- Celebrate your child’s milestones together as this keeps a celebratory and encouraging atmosphere in your home (E.g. diaper-free day, first word/book read, first tooth dropped)
- Apologise when you make a mistake
- Help your child become an “expert” on a topic he cares about
- Give your child the chance to make simple decisions (E.g. what she would like to wear for an outing)
- Show enthusiasm about your child’s questions;
Parenting sons and daughters also requires very different approaches – here are some tips to adjust your parenting style accordingly:
Raising Confident Sons
- Don’t praise your son only when he is tough, strong or brave. Be sure to compliment him for being sensitive and kind, for taking care of friends and siblings, and for being curious and asking questions.
- Encourage your son to pursue activities he likes and is good at, and don’t force him to do things he does not enjoy. Take an interest and participate with him in those activities.
- Comfort your son when he is sad, upset or hurt and let him know it is ok to cry. Don’t laugh at him or shame him. This will encourage him to be himself, and to understand his emotions and express them appropriately.
Nurturing Secure Daughters
- Don’t just compliment your daughter on her clothes or looks. Give her specific praise on what she is good at, (E.g. being a talented artist, smart with numbers, good at sharing, a caring big sister, knows how to tie shoe laces).
- Many girls and women suffer from low self-esteem due to the messages they get from the media, which advocates the idea that beauty is all that matters. Praising your daughter’s inner beauty will help boost her self-esteem. Tell her that she is valuable, special and important, not because of how she looks but because of who she is.
While we can attest to the fact that parenting has its challenges, there is a great pay off when you are done raising your children to be confident and well-adjusted adults. Fathers play an important role as nurturers and confidence-builders in this journey, and we encourage you to try some of these tips and ideas with your children today!
©2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved
Article contributed by Judith Xavier, Focus on the Family Singapore.
This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.
Gottman, J. M., Katz, K. E., & Hooven, C. (1997). Meta-emotion: How families communicate emotionally. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Yogman, M. W. Kindlon, D., & Earls, F. (1995). Father involvement and cognitive/behavioral outcomes of preterm infants. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 58-66.