Friday, August 12, 2011

love and logic: positive self concept


responsible children feel good about themselves
even children make themselves known by their acts,
by whether what they do is pure and right.
proverbs 20:11

a love and logic parent knows that kids learn best and are responsible when the feel good about themselves. from a very early age we can give them a chance to to develop a much needed positive self concept. all too often the questions and phrases we say to our children are backed with negative messages. this happens without us even understanding the impact it might have on our child's self esteem. here are a couple examples the book gives;

when we say, "what are you doing that for?" the child hears, "you are not very competent."
when we say, "if i have told you once i have told you a thousand times." the child hears, "you are pretty dumb, and your neurons work sluggishly."
i think most often the damage is done in a more subtle manner. we tend to bark orders and demand power. why? because we are parent, gosh darn it! however barking orders at our children gives them no chance to think for themselves and the hidden messages are saying things like;

you don't take suggestions
you can't figure out the answer for yourself
you have been told what to do by a voice outside your head
i mentioned in my previous post, that love and logic parents offer choices and encourage their children to think for themselves. in addition to this, a love and logic parent needs to understand the three-legged table of self concept. the idea is that the building our child's self concept can be compared to a three-legged table. all legs must be strong and stable for the table to stand, if one leg is missing, goodbye table. our child's table is built through the implied messages we give. here is a quick overview of the 3 legs;

leg one: i am loved by the "magic people" in my life
our love for our children must always be unconditional. all to often parents hold back on showing love in hopes that it will make the child behave better, or break bad habits. sometimes we use all our "love" in trying to get our children to do their homework or chores that the real love gets put on hold. these children tend to believe that true love is dependent on their achievements. love and logic parents express there love unconditionally, showing the child, "there's a lot of love here for you regardless of the way you act here or anywhere else." when children really truly feel loved by the magic peoples in their lives, they set out to prove that their magic people are right.

leg two: i have the skills i need to make it
children to need to know that they have the skills people their age need to be successful. they must feel confident that they can compete with other kids in the classroom, on the ball field, or anywhere that kids interact. our children must know that within themselves they have everything they need to succeed. these powerful like skills are best learned through modeling. i loved this quote in the book, "don't get too uptight if our children don't always listen to us, but tremble in fear that they see what we do." our children are eager to model the tasks they see us doing, and often we are quick to judge the quality of their work. we must be good models for them, and not discourage them if they come up short.

leg three: i am capable of taking control of my life
many parents expect their children to be responsible for themselves. however, these are the same parents that are forever informing their kids when they are hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or even when they need to go to the bathroom. when we give orders our children, they don't have the chance to think for themselves and feel like they have little control over their lives. love and logic parents make it a goal to give their children every opportunity to think about their choices, and the natural consequences that go along with them. the result is giving them ownership (with limits based on age) over their lives.

where does that leave me?

i love the simple model that love and logic suggests for parents to build their children's self concept. coen is at such a "helpful" stage, always wanting to watch me and copies my every move. it is so cute...yet, at times very frustrating. when i think that these little moments could be HUGE moments for building his self concept, it makes me want to slow down and swim in the experience with him. in fact, i love getting down on his level and seeing life his way. something i do not do often enough.

happy parenting!



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