Language is a powerful esteem builder. If fact, it can build or destroy self-esteem.
There is a “language” of self-esteem.
Correct children using the language of self-esteem. Use the words “decide” and “choice” often. Stress the consequences of choices. Discuss the behavior, not the child.
Criticism lowers self-esteem while having choices and control raises self-esteem.
Don’t say, “You didn’t wash the dinner dishes again. You always live like a pig.”
To use the language of self-esteem, follow these steps when correcting children (always remembering that you want your child to think he/she is a valuable person):
5 Steps to encouraging Self Esteem
1. Describe the behavior in nonjudgmental language such as, “The dishes are still in the sink.”
2. Give a simple, to-the-point reason for the behavior change such as, “I need clean dishes for dinner tonight.”
3. Acknowledge the child’s feelings, motive, or situation by saying something like, “I know you want to see Tommy again today.”
4. Using clear language, provide a statement of what is expected such as, “I want the dishes clean by 6 o’clock this afternoon.”
5. State a clear consequence for not completing your request such as, “If you choose to leave the dishes dirty after six tonight, you are deciding to stay home alone this entire week-end.”
Life is a series of choices!
Always stress to your children that life is a series of choices. No one is responsible for their choices, decisions, and actions but the child.
Utilize the words “choose” and “decide” to get this message across using the language of self-esteem. Discuss the action, not the child.
When your son decides to keep playing with Tommy and he decides to leave the dishes in the sink past the five o’clock deadline, he also made a decision to stay home for the week-end. His choice, his decision, his consequence. His increased self-esteem which you have bolstered using the language of self-esteem.