Parenting with Emotional Intelligence – 10 Tips to Nurture Self-Pride in Your Child

Parenting with Emotional Intelligence – 10 Tips to Nurture Self-Pride in Your Child

Imagine that we each arrive into the world with a golden ball that is our life companion, bouncing and shimmering its way along side us throughout our lives. As we grow up, the glow of our golden ball grows brighter as our self-esteem blossoms. Through the messages we give our children, we make choices in how strong their golden balls glow. They may fade or grow ever more radiant as our loved ones develop pride in their competence. A wonderful consequence of nurturing pride is strong self-worth.

These ten tips will help your children or challenging loved ones to grow and glow ever more golden:

  1. Praise even small acts of cooperation. They will glow with feeling appreciated.
  2. Encourage them through their new experiences and challenges with “I believe in you” messages. They will glow with a sense of being trusted to work it out.
  3. Give age and stage appropriate freedom and choices. They will glow with a sense of independence and opportunity.
  4. Listen with your silence and respond without judgment. They will glow with self- respect.
  5. Set guidelines and limits that are clear, fair and positive. They will glow with a sense of safety.
  6. Allow your loved ones to see your mistakes and frailties. They will glow with self- acceptance.
  7. Model your values for your children by living by them openly. They will glow with a sense of direction.
  8. Smile and hug often and full out. They will glow with happy hearts and connectedness.
  9. Honor their uniqueness, their quirks and their individuality. They will glow with creativity.
  10. Help them explore what makes them proud of themselves. Invite them to tell you what makes them proud of you.They will glow with emotional intelligence.

Action Step: Bring out feelings of pride in your challenging loved one~

For the next week, plan to find daily opportunities to say “I am very proud of you!” Sincerity is supreme. Say it only when you are feeling genuinely proud. Say it with feeling. Be smiling. Be amazed. But do be yourself and say “I am VERY proud of you because — – —–!” It can be about even the teeny tiniest accomplishment. And when you start really looking, feeling proud is not hard to find.

Find out what Works: After a few days ask yourself these questions:

  • Were my ‘pride statements’ novel enough to grab the attention of my child, student, or other challenging loved one?
  • Has there been some noticeable behavior change?
  • In what other settings or situations can I continue to nurture pride?

Case Study

My 39 year old client, Peter, who has Asperger Syndrome, is quite charming and social but was experiencing continual rejection in social settings because he would monopolize the conversation with his favorite two questions. Peter was fascinated with whales and he just loved a new audience to search out different opinions of the same factual questions: “How many species of whales are there in the world?” and “Which oceans do they live in?” Most people don’t know and are not interested in the answer, so Peter found himself sitting alone and feeling alienated after five minutes in a room. It did not matter that he already knew the answers to these questions which had been a lifetime fixation.

We designed a strategy that cues Peter to divert the questioning and instead say ” Oh! I have the answer to that question, don’t I?” What makes the strategy successful is that immediately after he stops himself from slipping into repetitive questioning, it is important to Peter to hear (from the supporting adult) his favorite praise phrase, “I am so proud of you!” Eventually Peter began to catch himself ahead of the cue. It is especially important to notice and acknowledge that type of spontaneous behavior improvement with an even more specific praise statement such as “I am so proud of you for stopping yourself! ” or “I am so proud of you for remembering you did not need to ask that question while you were at the dance!”

Keep in mind, our challenging loved ones are all unique. Find your unique way of adapting these tips.

Copyright Ellen Mossman-Glazer 2001, 2005. All rights reserved. The golden ball of self-esteem inspired by the ‘golden ball’ of Jon Kabat Zinn, author of “Wherever You Go, There You Are.”

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