Being a Parent, Not a Pushover

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Be a Parent, Not a Pushover, by Maryann Rosenthal, PhD

I’m reading this (really fantastic) book as part of a parenting class/book study with about 8 other sets of parents. I only want to write today about one chapter, one aspect of parenting that struck me this week: Fueling their self-esteem is crucial to raising healthy teenagers. We need to start younger than 13. This is something that demands we step out of ourselves and show up even more and bigger than finding their favorite clean shorts, driving them to school on time, or keeping groceries in the house so they can eat breakfast.

Obviously we all need self-esteem to be happy contented people. Sometimes I forget that I need to nurture theirs AND mine. I need to make sure that my self image is a good one so that I can model and portray that to my children. I want nothing more so than for them to be satisfied with themselves when they are out of my house and on their own, working their jobs, raising their families. So how do I nurture that seed now in them?

The book is really good; it devotes an entire chapter to their self-esteem. I highly recommend this book for parents of kids of ANY AGE, young adults included. The author describes lots of excellent ideas:

1. Avoid improper or inflated praise
2. Model more than lecture how you want your kids to live
3. Praise generously but genuinely
4. Help her inventory her strengths
5. Respect your teen and others
6. Avoid ridicule and shame
7. Don’t compare him with other kids
8. Don’t compare your kid to you
9. Encourage positive self-talk
10. Promote good decision making (let go of control)
11. Balance assertiveness with reason
12. Discourage the blame game
13. De-emphasize physical beauty
14. Laugh with your teen and encourage him to laugh at himself

There are a few more really good ones. This list could be blog/journal topics for me to explore for myself and promote for me. These are all REALLY IMPORTANT things to do with and for our kids. The kicker is, we need to do them for ourselves as well so that we can be capable of doing them for our kids. Whether we are single parenting or partner parenting, these are all important to foster in the entire family.

We are the grown-ups– we need to learn the skills we want our children to have.
We are the adults with the experience–we need to nurture these habits in us so that we can model them to the kids.
We are the ones in charge–we have to get a grip and take care of ourselves so that we can teach them to take care of themselves.
It is a big list, but we can do it!

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