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Mommy, I’m a Winner

As talking has become one of Jackson’s favorite past times . . . it’s so interesting to see what will come out of his mouth next. Case in point, on a walk through the neighborhood, he was running far ahead and I yelled out, “Jackson, you run so fast!” And without missing a beat he yelled back, “Mommy, I’m a winner!” At only two and a half years old, at the time, I wonder, where does that response come from? Could it be the beginnings of self-esteem? According to Dr. Christopher Tolcher, Pediatrician and spokesperson with The American Academy of Pediatrics, Jackson, a toddler, “perceives only himself, on a very basic and rudimentary level but it is the beginning of a continuous development.”

More importantly, to me, how do I guide my son to have a healthy self-esteem for life? Dr. Tolcher says “There is a fine line between healthy self-confidence and resilience versus an inflated, harmful sense of ego.” That’s why as parents our parenting style is important to think about. The “Jellyfish” parent is a parent who wants his or her child to not worry about anything and just be happy. This parent also doesn’t allow the child to deal with reality and consequences. So when it comes to self-esteem, a child is unable to thrive outside the home. And what happens when the rest of the world doesn’t think your baby is perfect? The “Dictator” parent is the parent who is at the other of end of the spectrum, often too hard on a child. Home should be a place a child feels safe and always loved. Without compassion and understanding, a child can’t learn that it’s okay to make mistakes and take healthy risks. Lastly, there is the “Loving Authoritative” parent. This is what we should strive to be according to Dr. Tolcher. He says, “give lots of love but consequences as well.” This allows a child to “make mistakes, but still be confident.”

Quick Tips:
1. Love your child, dislike their behavior. This means when a child does something wrong identify the problem, give the punishment, after they have completed the punishment, talk to them and let them know they are worthy of your love.

2. Praise and rewards are very important during various stages of learning. But remember, too much praise can give a false sense of ego. The goal is to teach a child to be proud of himself and not to count on others for praise and self- worth. 

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