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Self-Esteem without Character: Avoid This Mistake with Your Kids

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Raising kids with self-esteem and character is like polishing a diamond. These two ingredients reflect a light the world needs. When we raise kids with self-esteem and not character we create a self-indulgent monster.

The Mistake of Raising Kids with Self-Esteem and not Character

Young children need our attention, affection and care. Without loving adults their self-esteem suffers. But when we idolize our kids we create a monster without character. This is a big mistake!

How to Create a Self-Esteem Monster

1. Put your child's wants above everyone else's needs.

Let's say the family is hungry and dinner is ready. But your child wants to play a video game first. Will you let her?

2. Avoid the word, "No," at all costs.

Imagine it's time to get ready for school but your child wants to sleep longer. Will you let him?

3. Lavish your child with gifts.

Imagine you're buying a birthday gift for your spouse. Your child runs to the toy department. She won't leave unless you buy her the toy she wants. Will you buy it?

4. Grant your child his every wish.

It's late and you're exhausted. You want to get ready for bed but your child insists on watching 2 more TV programs. Will you let him?

5. Accept sass and disrespect


Your child is throwing a tantrum and yelling, "I hate you." Will you talk with him, give him your full attention, and encourage him to ‘let it all out?'

"Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized." Albert Einstein

Children need love. But idolizing kids creates selfish children. If we teach our children to view themselves as all-important, we raise very short-sighted people. They see only themselves and what they want. This is not the kind of self-esteem we're hoping for.

How to Build Character

Children need limits. Limits help kids learn to consider others - the opposite of over-indulgence. Here are some examples:

1. Consider others' needs before your child's wants.
2. Say, "No," when needed.
3. Avoid using gifts as bribes.
4. Have a child work for what he wants.
5. Cut off sass and disrespect immediately.

The Key to Blending Self-Esteem and Character

The key is love and limits. Hugs, kisses, and compliments can raise self-esteem. Setting limits and sticking to them helps children regulate themselves. Self-regulation helps kids do the right thing, give their best effort, and help others. These are ingredients for character.

A child with self-esteem and character loves himself, does his best, and helps others.

Your Parenting Action Step

Children love to trace their hands with pencils and crayons. Encourage your child to trace her hand 3 times. Cut each hand out and write a different affirmation from below on each hand. Tape them to the refrigerator. Every time she displays or says one of the 3 affirmations tell her,

"Go to the refrigerator and give yourself a high 5!"

1. "I love myself."
2. "I can do it."
3. "My hands are for helping."

Conclusion for Building Building Self-Esteem with Character

These 3 positive thoughts will help her shine, influence her self-esteem, and enrich her character.

And one more thing, when it comes to self-esteem and character, don't raise one without the other.


Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to receive with our Free Parenting Newsletter:
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Parent Affirmations Kit

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