One of the most important things us parents begin teaching our kids at a very early age is, how to treat others. Being polite, respectful, loving, giving, treating others how they would like to be treated, etc. But, there is another element to this that I think is just as important, and that is teaching our children how to love themselves. We live in a world where our kids are bombarded with media, and narrow, socialized definitions of what it means to be “beautiful”, or “acceptable”. It is our job to teach them that they are beautiful in their own right.
As a child, the idea of loving yourself may be a somewhat difficult concept to grasp, and as parents, we must be careful not to confuse self-love with a prideful/conceited attitude. I also think it’s important to remember that loving yourself, does not only mean loving/accepting your appearance, but also, having a healthy sense of self-worth. In other words, teaching our children that they are worth being loved, and teaching them what love really is – teach them how to protect their heart.
Of course the topic of “love” means different things at different ages, when explaining it to kids, but there are common themes throughout. As parents, we need to realize that we are the most important influence in our childrens’ life, and this should be noticeable to them. Teaching our kids self-love/worth must also be demonstrated through actions, as well as words.
Sometimes we may think concepts such as love are purely innate or automatic, but in reality there are certain things that must be taught and experienced, in order to understand them. As parents, we lay the foundation for who our kids will become – let us build a foundation built on love.