There is an underlying reason why I am so keen to show her just how much she is loved. I am a firm believer in the notion that with affection and acceptance, comes a healthy self-esteem. To be fair, not everyone is as affectionate as I may be describing here; my poor father was very reserved and would never shower us with kisses, but that wasn't to say that we were unsure about his affections for us as kids; and as adults for that matter. It's not necessarily about being overly affectionate with our children, there are other ways that we can show just how much they mean to us. For instance, listening to them when they talk to us is a powerful tool in helping them feel important and accepted. Even something as simple as recognising achievements or accepting their faults and mistakes as part of the learning process will show them just how much they matter to us as parents. Creating this level of confidence in your child will help create an open relationship which will encourage your little ones to feel worthwhile about themselves and, in turn, raise their level of self-esteem. I always try to make a concerted effort to stop what I am doing and pay attention to what my little girl is telling me so that she feels listened to and that what she has to say matters to me as her father.
Self-esteem is a concept explored by Carl Rogers, a pioneer of Humanistic Psychology. But what exactly is self-esteem? According to the Rogerian theory, it is quite simply our ideal-self (who we want to be) versus our actual-self (who we currently are). The closer the two, the higher one's self-esteem. Quite simply, if you are happy with yourself, who you are and what you have achieved, your self-esteem will be healthier than if your actual-self and ideal-self are in a state of disequilibrium. The ultimate goal then, it seems, is to create a sense of equilibrium between your actual- and ideal-self.
"Just wait my sweetheart, I can't listen now, I'm trying to write my blog" :)