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Tips for Parents: Reinforce True Worth

Heading back to school can be either a rude awakening from the lazy days of summer or maybe a welcome return to normalcy in your household.   Or maybe even a little of both.  One thing is certain—for parents it is a flurry of supply lists, meetings and schedules.  

In the midst of the whirlwind, remember to take some time to evaluate the new challenges your child may be facing and how they can stay grounded as their routine changes.

You’ve probably heard a lot about what affects your child’s self-esteem, or how they feel about themselves.  It changes depending on the day, their grades, their science fair project and if their friend saved them a seat at lunch. 

As parents, many of these things are simply out of your control. 

However, more powerful than self-esteem is the reality of your child’s true worth — that … their value comes not from how they feel about themselves, but that they are known and loved …

While you can’t control your child’s feelings, here are a few ways that parents can help their children remember their true worth:

 *   Listen

This can be taxing when the day has been long and the drama from a school day can get complicated and petty and it can be tempting to dismiss a story with, “I’m sure it’ll all be fine” or an attempt to fix the problems being recounted.  While some issues do require your intervention, there are many times where   just being heard is all the reinforcement your child needs.   Consider including “highs and lows” in the     dinner time or carpool routine, allowing each child to share the high and low point of their day.

*    Monitor Internet

If your child uses the Internet, know what sites they are visiting and who they are interacting with. There is a relatively new site,  that allows users to anonymously ask questions.  This seems mundane until one observes the drama that unfolds, with users anonymously sharing gossip and criticism.  Check browser history and apps installed on phones, tablets and mp3 players regularly    to know who your child is talking to and how they may be affecting their self esteem.

 *   Encourage Service without Incentives

While your child may be required to do community service for the Sacrament of Confirmation or for a certificate at school, encourage them to go beyond what is mandatory and discern what unique gifts and talents they have been given by God that they can offer the world.