Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

A Positive Attitude by Jo Ann Simon (Author of Rose Colored Glasses)

I am happy to welcome Jo Ann Simon, author of Rose Colored Glasses: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Hopeto Look to the Western Sky ,today. She is on blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing , and I’m one of the stops. Below, she has written a post about her positive attitude. Her memoir is about her husband getting a tick bite on Block Island. She says, “We shared a story that felt like a dream. Every moment was an adventure… and then Tom became ill. As his mysterious symptoms persisted, we were hurtled through a maze of fear, tests, doubts and sorrow. But while doctors toyed with diagnoses– Lyme disease, ALS–we filled each day with joy, hope, good food, wine, music, and travel. Even when death came to crush our storybook romance, we found that the human spirit is greater than the frailties of the body, greater than suffering and grief.”

 

A Positive Attitude

Guest post by Jo Ann Simon

Everyone has a choice to be positive or negative.  You can see it every day just walking down the street or in the supermarket.  Look at the people and see who has a smile, or glint in their eyes showing their enjoyment of the day.  Then you see the people with their heads down, grimacing or griping about their dour situations.  They might have a dour situation, or they are creating it for themselves. It is much easier to be positive and feel something good than to be stuck in your own doubt.

Having a positive attitude gives you a very special power.  This power allows you to see things in a better way and know that anything is possible.  That door of endless possibilities is always open.  Negativity slams that door closed and forces that person to feel woe is me because nothing is possible for them.   I like to get my crowbar out and try to open that door with simple ideas of possibilities.  It is amazing to me that a negative person cannot even think about the simplest solutions to situations.  Their minds are crammed with swarms of downward delusional thoughts, so they can’t find that glimmer of hope for something good.

I am always unnerved with the amount of negativity in our world and try to change it every day.  I have been in a conference room with a group of co-workers who are speaking doom and gloom, and I will ask why we can’t change the situation with a different method.  They all look at me and say, “Jo Ann has her Rose Colored Glasses on today”.  I do have those glasses on, and normally, when a positive suggestion is made, it comes as a surprise because negativity tends to rule the day.  But, when they all start thinking and talking about how to change it for the better, excitement starts building into something wonderful and doable.

Having a positive attitude makes life much more enjoyable and easier.  My goal is to make the most of every day, no matter what is happening in life around me.   I strive to live every day to the fullest, and spread the wealth of the notion that anything is possible if you try to think like that.

I wear my Rose Colored Glasses every day, whether you can see them or not, and I am a better person for doing that.

Find JoAnn Online:

Website: https://www.joann-simon.com/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ForgetMeNotJoSi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joannsimonauthorpage/

 

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4 Clear Signs Your Teenager is Ready for a Car

(contributed post)

You’ve been sitting in the passenger seat while you supervise your teenager driving for months now, and you suddenly notice how well they’re driving without you needing to guide too much anymore. It’s a big step and a big deal for this to be recognized because it means that the time you’ve spent teaching them and the test that they passed means that yes, they can comfortably drive their own car.

It can be difficult to let go of your teenager and let them drive on their own, particularly when you know the need for an accident attorney is high among teenagers due to the accident rates in cars. Car crashes are a number one killer of teenagers, and it’s important that your teenager is truly ready to take the wheel before you purchase a car for them to use. So, here below you’ll find four clear signs that your teenagers are ready to take the wheel of their own vehicle and go the distance as a safe driver.

They Have A Licence. Obvious? Yes, but it’s more than that. A licence doesn’t make a good driver, but there are plenty of support courses that a young driver can take to make sure that they are great on the road and know that they are doing well with their technique while they drive.

They Commit To Safe Driving. Teenagers of all ages need to commit to learning the rules of the road, and they also need to have it drummed in to them that they are responsible for more than just themselves when they choose to drive. There is this program  that can help your teenager understand the importance of their commitment to being safe drivers on the road.

You’ve Communicated. As a parent, you want your teenagers to be as safe as possible. Make conversation about their driving skills and strategies, not lecture them about what to do in certain situations. Talk to them, not at them, and celebrate their accomplishments while they learn their way.

They Ditch Their Cell Phones. If there is one lesson you can teach your teenager, it’s putting their cell down when they drive. Tell them to put it in the trunk of the car before they climb into the driving seat. This way, there is no temptation to answer a text or take a selfie or Snapchat their car journey. There is no feasible reason for cell phones to be in their hands while they’re driving, and this is one of the most important lessons you could impart on your teenager.

Your teenager needs to have their freedom, sure, but you need to make sure that you are setting them out onto the road with the right knowledge and the right smarts to be behind the wheel. You don’t want to send your child out into the road if they don’t know how to take responsibility for themselves. Be proud they’ve reached this point in their maturity: you’ve done well!

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Top 5 Personal Challenges

(contributed post)

Each day is an opportunity to try something new and to test yourself. One of the best ways to achieve more in your life is to set yourself little personal challenges. These challenges do not need to be anything of monumental magnitude. What matters is that they appeal to you and help you to achieve something that will make you feel proud while broadening your horizons. With that being said, read on to discover five of the top personal challenges that many people set for themselves.

 

  • Overcome a fear – There is only one place to begin, and this is with one of the best personal experiences of them all. Overcoming a fear is something that can provide you with a new lease on life, making you feel incredibly proud and confident to take on anything. Whether you have a fear of spiders, flying, heights, or something else, use this as your opportunity to conquer it. You will be shocked by just how amazing this feels.
  • Get a new job – Many people remain in jobs they aren’t truly happy in because they are scared to move onto something else. However, if you are stuck in a dead-end job, which you don’t enjoy and offers no room for advancement, it is definitely time to make a change. By finding a job that inspires you and motivates you, it will do wonders for your life overall.
  • Give up alcohol – A lot of people rely on alcohol as a stress reliever. They feel like they need it in social situations but the truth is that people don’t. Giving up alcohol can be incredibly liberating, and there are many benefits associated with following the likes of the 12 step recovery program. This includes the following: less likely to snack on bad food, more energy, clearer skin, and less prone to mood swings.

 

  • Take on a charity challenge – Charity challenges are great because you achieve two things. First, you complete whatever challenge you decide to take on, whether it is hiking a mountain or cycling across the country. Second, you raise money for an important cause.

 

 

  • Run a 1/2 or whole marathon – Last but not least, running a marathon is on a lot of people’s to-do lists before they die. Yes, a marathon (or even a 1/2 marathon) requires a lot of effort, dedication, and training, but it is definitely worth it. The exhilaration experienced when crossing the finish line is something that cannot be put into words.

 

So there you have it: five personal challenges you could set yourself. From running a marathon to overcoming a fear, hopefully, the challenges that have been mentioned above will appeal to you, and you will have found something that you can get started with. Good luck!

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Here’s How Your Computer Is Damaging Your Health And Tips For Preventing It

(contributed post)

Nowadays, computers play a major part in our everyday life. To suggest that they could be damaging our health might not be very reassuring news – getting rid of computers from our lives isn’t an option for many of us (and let’s face it, would any of us really want to live without computers?). Whilst there are unfortunately a number of health hazards to using a PC, there are also a number of ways to lower the risks of these hazards. Here are just a few of the ways using a computer can damage our health and how you can prevent this damage.

Sitting down for too long

Being craned over a computer or a laptop isn’t very good for our shoulders and back and is thought to leave many of us with posture problems later in life. Sitting down for extended periods can also lead to weight gain – particularly around the waist. This is because when we’re sitting, our stomach muscles are constantly relaxed and so start to wear away. On top of this, the knee joint can be affected by constantly being contracted.

There are several ways to limit the damage caused by sitting down for long periods. An ergonomic chair for example can help improve posture, while you can even try sitting on an exercise ball to engage your stomach muscles. There’s the option of a standing desk , which many office workers have started taking up – who says you have to sit down at a computer?

Staring at a bright screen

Staring at a bright screen all day is thought to be contributing to vision loss. Computer vision syndrome is a term used to describe the impact that screens are having, causing dizziness and headaches short-term and leading to both shortsightedness and farsightedness in the long run.

Taking regular breaks from looking at the screen can help, as can dimming the screen when working in a dimly lit environment. Getting a good amount of sleep can also reduce the damage to your eyes. If you think your vision is affected, it could be worth getting an eye exam.

Where can I get an eye exam near me? Your local optician is likely to be able to offer these services. Catching vision loss early could allow you to wear corrective vision and reduce the strain, preventing your vision from continuing to deteriorate.

Using a mouse and keyboard

Did you know that the average computer keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat? Keyboards are often teeming with bacteria that could be making you ill. The solution to this is simply t clean your keyboard occasionally. There are keyboard-cleaning kits for getting between all the keys. You should try to never eat at your computer as crumbs that get in-between the keys are a major source of this bacteria.

Using a mouse and keyboard regularly can also lead to another danger – the possibility of developing an RSI. Repetitive strain injuries are caused by doing action continuously and can lead to numbness or chronic pain in this area over the long-term. If you feel cramps setting in in your wrist or fingers, it’s probably a sign that you’re giving yourself an RSI. Ergonomic keyboards and mice are a worthy purchase that could help to reduce this strain. You should also ensure that you’re sitting somewhere with sufficient elbow room and should take regular breaks to stop an injury from setting in.

 

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When You Live in a Society, You Don’t Walk Alone

(contributed post)

We sometimes think in terms of “us versus the world,” and perhaps we’re even encouraged to feel this way by the media and those in charge. This view, however, isn’t really true. We’re not a collection of individuals just going through life; we’re a society, and that means we can all lean on each other to various degrees. And if you don’t think that’s true…just step outside your door. Who paved the street in front of your house? It wasn’t you! Below, we take a look at a few ways that prove you don’t have to walk alone in society .

Improving Yourself

You can’t really improve your lot in life without improving yourself. There are systems in place that will allow you to survive, but to thrive? You need to walk that path yourself. The good news is that there are plenty of people around who will happily help you push yourself forward. If you don’t yet have the qualifications you need to get a well-paying job, then there are grants that’ll help you get them. If you have a job and want to progress, your HR department or manager should have advice on how to move forward. If you want to be better, you can, and with support!

The Circular Economy

If everybody always just took what they wanted and didn’t give a second thought about anyone else, the world would be a pretty dark place. But we see examples of the opposite all the time, even in the products that we own. While there are movements trying to encourage a more formal circular economy, there’s already a thriving informal circular economy taking place. If you’re tight on cash yet need something for your child, you can take a look at buy/trade/sell groups online, and get what you need at a fraction of the normal cost.

When Things Go Wrong

We all know that bad things happen in life. They’re unavoidable. But they would be so much worse if we had nowhere to turn when we were struck by hard times. Thankfully, we do. If we’re fired illegally, we can fight for our rights. If we’re in a car accident, there are ways to find out more about how we can get financial compensation. If we become ill, we can go to the doctor or even the emergency room – this is an option that many people did not have in past generations!

When Times Are Tough

And it’s not just when things go wrong in a practical way that there are other people to help, too. If we’re not feeling all that cheery, there are countless people who are willing to talk out our problems with us. It’s pretty awesome to live in a world where there are so many people who care about others!

Those are just a few examples of how you can get help from others. And of course, you shouldn’t just receive help – you should dole it out, too!

 

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Reluctant Parents At Work: What Tools Did I Use to Get a Job?

This is part two of my series about a common problem in the U. S. (not sure about other countries) for parents who have chosen to stay home and raise their kids, and then want to go back to work. You can read the first post with my personal story about getting a job here.

Today, I wanted to overview how I found a job. I needed a full-time job when I was going through a divorce, and I am one of the lucky ones–it only took me 8 months, and I had two different fields I could apply in: English-related (editing, writing) or elementary teaching.

Turns out, since the last time I looked for a full-time job in 2004, much had changed! Let’s start with elementary teaching in 2015. I decided it would be best to go back to teaching (instead of editing) since at the time, I had a 4-year-old daughter. Applying for a teaching job now took place on a website (of course!), and jobs opened and closed for elementary teachers before I could apply! So I learned to not wait around to submit my resume: but it turns out, elementary teachers are a dime a dozen in St. Louis,  and I hadn’t been in the classroom for 9 years. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t getting called for interviews, so I had to change my game plan.

That’s when I found Indeed.com. Now, there are several websites out there people use to find jobs: Linked In, Career Builder, and Monster; but I love Indeed.com, and it is where I found my job. Turns out, English majors with editing skills and experience and desperation (meaning I will work for less pay to get awesome benefits) are not a dime a dozen, and I finally received some calls for interviews.

I won’t say the phone was ringing off the hook because well, phones don’t ring off hooks anymore…BUT, I did start to feel some hope of securing a full-time position with benefits. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this post talking about why Indeed.com and LinkedIn are important because I’m saving that for its own post. But if you’re currently looking for a job, I highly recommend that you have an updated and professional profile on LinkedIn and Indeed.com. 

So my current job as an editorial assistant was posted on Indeed.com. I applied with my resume and targeted cover letter, and I received a call from the manager, (right before I had to go to the doctor for some illness, of course). But he interviewed me on the phone and said he was very interested in me, and I had high hopes that day because he even mentioned coming in for an in-person interview to meet the team. I did that! I then talked to him on the phone again about a week later; and lo and behold, I had a job offer.

People will tell you the only way to get a job from a job site is to know someone at the company. This is NOT true. I knew no one at Vance Publishing, and the manager offered me the job. What I think helped, and again I will address this more in my upcoming posts, is that I applied for the job almost as soon as it was posted; I tailored my cover letter and resume to the job description; and I was enthusiastic and friendly when the manager called me about the position. I still have my job today, and it has evolved into the perfect situation for me and Katie.

I share this story (and this entire series) because I know trying to find a job, after being out of work for whatever reason–raising kids, illness, poor job market–can be one of the most disheartening times in an adult’s life. You are not alone! It’s a time full of anxiety, rejection, and uncertainty. But know that somewhere out there, the perfect position is waiting for you. Hopefully, I can help you find it and land it.

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How to Earn the Title “A Dog’s Best Friend”

As many of you know, I have a dog, and I often write about him on here or share his cute photo on Facebook. I used to believe that maybe I was overthinking how much I walked him or spent time with him, and then his article came in. It made me think: I must not be the only one! Chester does bring so much joy to our lives, and there’s nothing as cute as how excited he gets when I say: “Want to go for a walk?” 

(contributed post)

You know the old saying: “A dog is man’s best friend.” Anyone who has a dog knows this is true. They give you unconditional love and are always there with a listening ear, without talking back! It’s been researched and proven that dogs also help their owners be healthier–they can help with emotional issues, or they help you maintain a healthy weight ; and they are always glad to see you with a friendly lick and a welcoming paw.

But do you qualify as your dog’s best friend? Are you as welcoming to them as they are to you? Are you as forgiving when they leave a mess on your carpet or when they gobble down your dinner? Do you provide for all of their needs? To earn the title “A Dog’s Best Friend,” here are some of the things you might be doing:

Hang out with your dog more. The occasional pat on the head or walk around the block doesn’t really qualify as hanging out. You can spend more time by playing games with them, from hide and seek to tug-of-war. Get down on their level for some affectionate hugging and let them know you love and appreciate them. Despite the busyness of your life, never be too busy to hang out with the one who loves you so much: your faithful four-legged friend.

Give your dog tasty food. Dogs will eat anything, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve something that is satisfying to their taste palate and healthy for them. You can easily offer them something both nutritious and delicious. From trudog freeze dried dog food for mealtime to specially formulated doggy treats at other times in the day, give your dog something they will love to eat.

Go for interesting walks with your dog. Walking your dog is a necessity; but when possible, opt for those routes that will give your dog added pleasure. They love to sniff and explore, so choose those places that will give them opportunities to enjoy the scenery around them, to navigate their way through fascinating nooks and crannies, with beautiful sights and smells to satisfy their senses.

Praise your dog. We are often quick to scold our dogs when they do something wrong, but we can sometimes be slow to praise them. It’s all part of their behavior training anyway, but make praising your dog an everyday routine, rather than only doing so when you want your pooch to do as you have told them. A kind tone of voice, a gentle pat on the head, and a tasty treat occasionally will show your dog you appreciate them.

Look after your dog’s health. Your four-legged friend isn’t hot on self-care, so you need to be responsible for all of their health needs yourself. This means feeding them something nutritious and avoiding foods that will harm them. This means keeping up a healthy exercise routine. And this means scheduling regular visits to the vet. Yes, your dog may frown at you because you refuse to give in to their begging, but a long and happy life is a much better gift than a piece of your chocolate!

And if you do all of these things? You will earn the title “A Dog’s Best Friend.” Well done you! While your dog won’t reward you with a medal or a certificate, we are sure he will reward you in his own special way.

What do you like to do with your dog?

 

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Caution: Reluctant Parents At Work: A New Series About Going Back To Work

I’m starting a new series on Look to the Western Sky about going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom. I thought I’d start the series with my own story. Before I was married in 2006, I was an elementary school teacher in Missouri. I had worked for 12 years in public schools, and I quit when we moved to Champaign, IL. My dream was to be a writer, and I also had a 6-year-old stepson who came to visit quite often and still lived in Missouri. So one of us (me or my husband at the time) had to be available to pick him up and drive him the 4.5 hours back to our house. My husband’s job was not 9 to 5–he’s an air traffic controller, so it made the most sense that I found something more flexible.  I became a substitute teacher, freelancer, and columnist for the newspaper. I also tried to have a baby, which took 4 years!

Once I had KT,  we lived back in Missouri, and I was a stay-at-home mom, which is what I wanted more than anything. I could not imagine going back to work and letting someone else take care of her. But I still worked–I still freelanced and ran my editing business, Editor 911. I also published 3 books during this time. However, when KT’s dad and I separated, she was 4 1/2, with one more year of preschool left, and I had to get a full-time job in 2015.

Now many of you reading this may have had to go back to work for different reasons–you wanted to, you needed another income, or maybe, like me, you had a life change. Trying to find a job when I desperately needed one was excruciating. It took me almost 8 months; and when I finally secured one, the same one I have today, it was no longer in teaching, and I made $10,000 less than I did when I worked as a teacher full-time in 2006. And get this…I felt lucky to have any job at all with benefits. I also felt lucky that I did not had two degrees. This new job was going to use my English degree and my editing experience that I had acquired while staying home with Katie.

And that’s a good thing because without those qualifications, I would have been substitute teaching at a local school district because that was the only job I could get with my master’s degree in education from Truman State University, +30 extra master’s hours, +12 years of experience and glowing recommendations because…I hadn’t been in a classroom full-time for 9 years, and at all for almost 5. Nobody wanted to interview me. I had ONE interview at a private school, and I did not get the job. I was hired as a sub within 10 minutes of my interview, and the advice from the district admin professional was that I should work as much as I could in the same building, so the principals could get to know me. Then I could get a chance at a full-time job. He said, “I know you are overqualified to be a sub.”

My story is a dime a dozen. I hear from countless parents, men and women (and it might be even worse for men since it is less common for men to stay home), that their career was hurt because they decided to be a stay-at-home parent. Most of us don’t want to go back to work before our kids are in first grade anyway!  I was a reluctant mommy. I didn’t want to be away from her when she was only attending 2.5 hours of preschool every day. But I had to go back. And then for it to be so difficult to get an interview and then a job that paid me below what I was making 9 years earlier? It was depressing.

Would I go back and do it any differently? No. I would still give up my career to help out my stepson and then raise my daughter. Because I would regret missing those experiences much more than taking a cut in pay and having a stressful few months wondering if I would ever get a job.

This series, Caution: Reluctant Parents at Work, will have some how-to articles,  inspirational articles, stories from the trenches and more. If you have a question or something you need help with, please leave it below. If you want to be featured on this blog as a reluctant parent who had to go back to work and  your story, please email me at margolynndill (at) gmail.com . If you are dreading the day you have to go back to work, let us know because we are here for you!

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Strategies To Save Your Marriage From Divorce

(contributed post)

There are more divorces than marriages in the world. The reasons why this is happening at such a rapid rate are still being studied. Yet if more people are getting divorced, there are still some strategies to attempt before your marriage ends. What can be looked at are some preventative measures. Taking it slow, spending time apart, and working on communication skills may be what you need to save your marriage from divorce. 

Acknowledge the Deterioration

Notice that you raise your voices at each other more and more? In the beginning, these arguments may have been about big things that matter for the whole household, but then it got a bit petty. You started getting annoyed with your partner’s mannerisms. Something about the way they talk or do something quirky made you lash out. Arguing over nothing, but occurring on a regular basis, is a clear sign that it’s really more than just these little things, like the laundry and dishes. Pent-up anger can spiral into one giant ball of frustration. It’s rarely just one thing that sets you off.

So if you’re noticing how you argue day in and day out, and you dread the next time you have to communicate with each other about something important, then it could be time to take a break. You have to acknowledge the deterioration of your relationship before it actually dissolves. If this means you don’t sleep in the same bed together, then make this known and make a decision as to who moves out of the bedroom. Taking a weekend apart from each other and doing different things, so you can clear your mind and have moments of peace, will give you time to think about what’s really bothering you. When you feel as if the tension has calmed down, then you can slowly build communication with each other and address the issues calmly.

Talking it Out

A breakdown in communication can destroy any relationship. But talking to one another does not automatically qualify as understanding one another. So it’s time for some action. Both of you need to talk to each other and set up a time where it’s just you two in the home. Make sure that there is nothing else pressing that needs to be taken care of on that day. It might be helpful to write down your points, so sit down and think carefully about the things that you personally believe are destroying the marriage. When you both meet, remember to be civil and conduct yourselves respectfully. Try to stay on the topics that you have written down. Use I-statements, instead of you. For example, “I feel frustrated when I see you haven’t helped with the kids when I get home from work,” instead of “You never help me with the kids.” 

 Don’t hold back during the discussion because this is your chance to be completely honest . When your partner speaks, be courteous and don’t interrupt; be mindful that you may not like what you hear but allow him or her to finish each point. When you’re both done, you can take a minute to drink some coffee and think over what was said before responding.

 

 

What If It Can’t Be Fixed?

Sometimes, marriages are broken beyond repair. Moving forward with a divorce is a big step in your life. Not only will your children be living new lives, but your financial and marital status will legally change as well. Your children may be lost and trying to figure out why their parents can’t get along. No one prepares you for this moment when you have to explain what divorce is to your children. But Spruce Grove Divorce Lawyers have a great video that goes over the points that you should be covering when talking to your kids. There’s also helpful advice for parents and how they should behave around the children, and this includes how you behave towards each other as soon-to-be former spouses. Children’s lives must continue to be as normal as possible. This includes you and their other parent sharing the responsibilities of everyday life, such as making dinner, doing the laundry, taking them to the doctors, and helping them with homework. In fact, you should enjoy these moments as a custody agreement will have to be reached, and both of you will have to share the time rather than being able to be with your kids whenever you want.

If at all possible, notice the signs of cracks forming in your marriage and take evasive action before it escalates to divorce, if you can help it. Take some time apart from each other. Talk the problems out face to face and be as honest as you can. If you cannot stop the crash, then it’s time to go ahead with a divorce. But don’t allow your kids to be victims of your decision, let them live their lives as they were before as much as possible.

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Ways To Help Your Child Improve Their Self-Esteem by Charlie Baulm

Charlie Baulm is a researcher in the fields of addiction and mental health. After battling with addiction himself and finding sobriety, Charlie aims to discuss these issues with the goal of reducing the stigma associated with both. Follow him on Twitter! 

When your child has self-esteem issues, it’s not going to be as simple as a positive affirmation to solve the problem. Low self-esteem is defined as a condition when your child views himself or herself as inadequate or who can’t do anything right. This thought process is repeated until it permeates through the whole being. Unfortunately for us parents, we can unconsciously exacerbate the situation with our words and actions.

Many psychologists now are in agreement that low self-esteem is a disorder, much like body dysmorphia, which is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are quite similar to the whole alphabet soup of conditions. The problem is that low self-esteem is such an abstract concept to be treated, which contributes to the misdiagnosis.

What the Statistics Say About Low Self-Worth

According to a study commissioned by Park Nicollet Melrose Center and titled, “Teens, Social Media And Body Image,” 8 in 10 women are not satisfied with the way they look, while 7 in 10 who actually have normal weight want to become slimmer. More than 8 in 10 girls who are 10 years old have an unusual fear of becoming fat.

More than half of 13-year-old girls are not satisfied with their bodies. In fact, a typical 10- to 14-year-old girl today could already be on a diet. By the time they hit 17 years old, the number balloons to more than 7 in 10.

Children with low-esteem problems are vulnerable in the sense that they tend to go out of their way to please everybody. They can easily be manipulated this way.

 Tips in Helping Your Child With a Low Self-Esteem

Here are some ways to help your child:

      • Positive affirmation – Avoid negative words when talking to your child and comparing them with more accomplished siblings and friends. However, be realistic with your praises.
      • Get their input in the decision-making process – This is one way for your children to forge their identities. When they realize that their voices matter in the home, they become more confident about speaking up.
      • Encourage them to learn new things – It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture like learning ballet. Even riding a horse, kayaking, or painting the shed will be enough. The important thing is you are there with them.
      • Don’t box them in – We always think that our kids are the smartest and the most beautiful small persons ever. But don’t reward their effort by equating it with a certain quality (smart, genius, strong-willed, etc.). Let them have their own identity without your constant pressure.
      • Lead by example – You can talk a good game all you want, but your child will always look at your actions first. They observe more than you think they do. How do you deal with your body image? Do you use negative self-talk in front of them?
      • Let them make a mistake – This is another way they can develop their own identity. They have to make a mistake in order to learn from it and build on it going forward. They are going to make bad decisions sometimes, don’t reprimand them for it. Rather step back and ask them what they think is the best way to handle the situation.

Unfortunately, low self-esteem can lead to addiction. Young people turn to drugs and alcohol as an outlet when they are feeling down about themselves. Another study affirms this as it claimed that girls with a low self-worth tend to engage in harmful behaviors. There are rehab facilities that help your kids manage the substance dependence but in some cases, it can take a lifetime of follow through and counseling for your child.

As parents it is important to pay attention and listen not just to what your kids are saying but more importantly, to what they are not saying. Verbal cues are important, but many times it is the subtle signs of low self-esteem that are easier to spot. Many people who struggle with low self-esteem are not comfortable talking about their issues, even with their parents. Most importantly, continue to encourage your children and speak highly about them, let them know that they are just as capable as anyone else in terms of accomplishing their goals and building their own lives.

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