CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER GELORMINE
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was given a magnet for my refrigerator. It was a list of ways to promote self-esteem in a military child, and at the time I thought, “Well, this is silly. I’m having a baby, not a child.” Those of you who are parents are probably shaking your heads, but really, I’m still surprised at how quickly my babies have grown up into children. Those newborn/infant/toddler phases went by alarmingly fast, and before I knew it, I had actual children in my home.
We’ve made three moves since I first put that magnet on my refrigerator door, and it’s made the move with us each time, prominently showcased where I can look at it daily. Military Children face special challenges. I suppose that’s why the message on this magnet is an important one to me… and hopefully, it will help you help your kids, too.
Ten Ways To Build Self-Esteem In Your Military Child
1. Hug and kiss your child every day. When away on assignment, express your love through daily letters, calls, or other communications.
2. Praise your child. Acknowledge accomplishments big and small.
3. Help your child feel special. Emphasize the privilege, responsibility, duty, and pride that go along with being a military child.
4. Concentrate on the positive. Remember, children’s self-confidence needs an extra boost when they fail at a task.
5. Treat your child as a unique, valued, and respected individual, not just an extension of you.
6. Take time to hear your child’s feelings and concerns, especially those that concern your military lifestyle.
7. Be a good listener. Children feel good about themselves when they know others value what they have to say.
8. Show respect for your child’s interests and ideas, even when they differ from your own.
9. Encourage your child to do his/her best. Show your appreciation and pride in those efforts.
10. Love your child unconditionally. Express your love frequently.
This post was originally published on Okinawa Hai, but we think it relates to life here as well. Overseas Yes and Okinawa Hai have no legal or managerial affiliation; please see the Legal Page for more information.