Children Learn What They Live #6

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


Let all your children know how special each of them is to you by helping them to bring out their own unique talents and pursue their own interests.

We can provide our kids with a good example by showing them how to enjoy what we do have rather than longing for what we don't.

What a wonderful message it is to let your child know that you wouldn't want him to be any other kind of person, that you love him just for being himself.

There is no better reason to finally make peace with ourselves and come to terms with our own imperfections than this: that by our own example, we can help our children learn to accept themselves more fully.

Our children are exposed to advertising that stresses the importance of what others own. These messages often confuse having possessions with being loved and accepted. Our kids need our help in sorting out these confusing messages.

The ability to appreciate and enjoy our own blessings can help us deal appropriately with feelings of jealousy or envy.

Avoid labeling your children, even positively – "the smart one," "the athletic one," "the pretty one," and so on. Comparing your children to each other can promote feelings of jealousy and discourage them from becoming the best they can be for themselves.

When parents and children feel good about themselves, jealousy and envy go out the window. Try focusing on your inner sense of yourself rather than comparing yourself to others.

No matter what they say, what our children really want from us more than the newest clothes or the latest toys is our time and attention.

When we value our children, they learn to value themselves. We do this best when we avoid comparisons and showing favoritism.

Sometimes there are deep feelings of loss behind expressions of envy, like, "I wish my Dad was more like Bill's." We need to be able to listen to our children's feelings without getting defensive.

We will be much better off as parents if we cub our competitive feelings and our tendency to compare our kids to our friends' kids. Let's appreciate our children for who they are, and not see them as extensions of ourselves to brag about.

Jealousy and envy can make children feel bad about themselves. Help your kids learn to feel satisfied with what they have.

When a new baby comes along, accept some signs of jealousy as a natural reaction. Make sure to give even older kids special attention at this time.

It's good to nip jealousy in the bud, but not by stifling expression. When you notice your child longing for what others have, talk about it with him.

When they are struggling with feelings of envy, we want to listen to our children express their thoughts and feelings as well as offer them our own perspective.

There will always be people who have more of the things we want, but there will also be those who have less. It's up to us to decide how we make peace with this fact.

We need to recognize and value each child in the family for his or her own unique and special talents. Doing so will help keep jealousy at bay.

Even very young children may become concerned about having the "right" clothes or electronic toys. We have to balance the messages they are getting from advertising and other children by making our own values explicit.

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