Nurturing a positive self-image begins at an early age. A child’s mind is like a sponge absorbing all the values, emotions, and actions of their parents. Many times as parents we are unaware that our behavior and the words we say can cause stress for our children. These 3 relationship-building resources can help you be more intentional about nurturing resilience in your child.
This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where they are encouraging all parents to learn more about ACEs. All opinions are my own.
I have shared my own experience with Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood (0-17 years). There are 10 different ACEs that researchers agree upon that are known stress triggers for children. They are categorized as abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. I overcame the effects of the ACEs I experienced with the support of three trusted adults in my life.
I am sure many of you are reading this and thinking, “These things don’t happen in my family. This isn’t for me,” and I am grateful if that is true. But for other parents, just the act of learning how toxic stress can be triggered is an important step toward preventing it. These communication tools can help you “be the three” — one of the three trusted adults or support people — in your child’s life and purposely build his/her/their resiliency. Ideally, after your child has their support system, you’ll also keep reaching out to others to be part of their three.
Conversation Helper Cards
The way we speak to children has a significant impact on their self-esteem. If we never share positive words with them, they begin to embody the negativity we see in their behavior as negativity about who they are.
One way to reduce the negative criticism we offer our children is to reframe our communication approach. Using Conversation Helper Cards, parents can find ways to manage their emotions and express themselves in a more positive manner.
It’s often said that you should H.A.L.T. yourself before you speak. Check in with yourself to make sure you are not hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. This tool can help you keep those emotions in check when you’re speaking to your children.
Positive Affirmation Stickers
It is important for parents to examine their own values in the process of supporting their children. Cultivating positive self-esteem is at the top of the list.
Teaching kids values of love, kindness, integrity, and honesty forces parents to look within. Self-reflection on values and how they affect a child’s psyche becomes an all-important priority. We might tend to emphasize grades and sports, but when was the last time you said to your child, “I love it that you’re so kind.”
Using positive affirmation stickers like the ones from Hey Southern Belle is a great way to reinforce positive self-image within your children. When you do this, you create positive childhood experiences that mitigate the effects of ACEs.
Just Us Girls Journal
Feeling loved and appreciated is a fundamental need that must be satisfied before one can become loving and caring towards another. Children don’t automatically embrace an “I can” attitude. They embrace this attitude gradually over time from their parents.
When we expect our children to succeed and consistently communicate trust in their ability to do so, the child will thrive. When a child knows you have faith in them they will begin to approach life situations with an “I can” attitude. This helps boost self-esteem and maximize his/her/their chances for happiness and success.
Sharing written positive affirmations with your child is one way to reinforce the consistency needed to develop a positive attitude toward life. Just Us Girls is a journal where moms and daughters can share their thoughts with one another as they grow together. Share this journal with your daughter, your niece, your little sister, or any other girl in your life for whom you can “be the three.”
How will you “be the three” and help build safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for your children or other young people in your life?