The way a child assesses his or her worth is definitely a process that is developed over time. Over a period of years a child learns that he has worth either by what he can do well (best athlete amongst his peers) or by the way he is unconditionally loved. In other words, he learns to feel loved either by what he can do or who he is.
It is the very important job of the parent, especially mom initially, to help the child feel loved without condition. To appraise his value by whose he is rather than who he is.
I’m watching my daughter unconditionally love her four month old son. It’s easy. He’s cute and totally dependent. For most parents it comes natural to affirm a child when he is young. But something happens as he gets older. Parents seem to affirm for performance rather than existence.
We must cheer when they are playing soccer. But, we must be their greatest fan regardless of what they do. If we don’t, they will find other people that will.
Parents are the initial keepers of the development of their child’s healthy self-esteem. Don’t get so busy that you hand the baton off to someone else without even realizing it.
Tomorrow: The goal of developing a healthy self-esteem in your child.