Practices That Develop Authentic Self-Esteem in Children and Youth…

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(as reported on, based on social science research)

  1. Develop a caregiving style that combines acceptance and affection AND high expectations and clear limits.
  2. Offer activities in which kids can “make real decisions and contributions” — not “cute” activities.
  3. Communicate genuine interest in kids..and in what they are doing…
  4. Engage in these activities along with the kids.
  5. Help kids acknowledge both “pleasant and unpleasant feelings.”
  6. Demostrate respect for all; avoid “sexism and judging physical attributes.”
  7. Teach social skills‑‑appropriate to age (such as how to cooperate, share, control emotions, and manage anger).
  8. IMPORTANT: Give real and meaningful feedback to children and youth, based on what is real and avoid “empty praise.”

This article notes the power of adult mirroring (also explained on pp. 47‑48 of “The Resiliency Workbook.”) It states, “Children incorporate negative adult opinions [i.e. mirroring] into their sense of self.”

The activities listed above are examples of positive adult mirroring, which resiliency research indicates has enormous power‑‑even if it comes from only one caring adult in a child’s life.


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