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Goldberg: Building self-esteem in our children is important


February, the month of love, is everyone’s favorite. It provides that special opportunity to express kindness and compassion all month long.

Where to start? With our children? By providing them with specific input, you can do wonders. Just a few of the right words here, there and everywhere can give them a glorious sense of self-esteem (competence and confidence).

Here is a wonderful way to think about this process. Remember the song “The Greatest Love of All,” sung by Whitney Houston? Here’s how it starts: “The greatest love of all is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all inside of me. The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.”

Next, it adds on the parenting advice: “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride.”

Even with this well-known song, so popular many years ago, few know its true meaning. Self-love, not “someone-else-love,” is the “greatest love of all.” It is the foundation for more to come.

Parenting first! Here are some nice things to say. When? All day long and every day. How? Keep on noticing the smallest positives and point them out. “You helped your dad.” “You ate all your spinach.” “You put away your shoes.” “Thank you for bringing me my hat.” “Thank you for being careful with that cup.”

Your parent input is everything. Here is the model: Self-esteem (Competence and Confidence) <—> Kindness and Compassion. Helping your child build a strong sense of self early is also a major way to protect against later troublesome teen and adult problems like crime, violence, addictions, depression, suicide and more.

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.