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Child Self-esteem: How We Put Our "Stuff" on Our Children

Posted by Kumari Ghafoor-Davis

Just because people become parents doesn’t mean they don’t have issues, concerns or negative habits. As individuals who may not have “worked through” past issues, it’s easy for parents to put their “stuff” on their children. Many parents make the mistake of living through their children — and we often don’t even realize when we’re doing it! But it’s important to understand that pushing a child to do things for the wrong reasons isn’t good for their development and can result in low self esteem and exhaustion.

When we haven’t worked through our stuff we can put things on our children like:

  • Weight issues
  • Control issues
  • Insecurities
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Effects of bad relationships and/or choices
  • Concerns within our own personal, academic, professional and financial achievement
  • Childhood hurts and feelings

Children can respond to these things being put on them by developing;

  • Low self-esteem
  • Complexes over weight, stature/build, skin color, eye color
  • Concerns about their intelligence, ability/capability,
  • Issues with building relationships (dating), friendships
  • Anger issues
  • Demotivating habits
  • And many other concerns

If you think you might be pushing your child toward acting a certain way — participating in activities that they really have no interest in, for example, or achieving things that are more about you than they are about them — try watching your own triggers and intentions. Ask yourself, “Is this what my child wants, or is this really more about me?” And,  “Is this really the best thing for my child right now?”

What’s the answer here? I believe parenting needs to be deliberate. We have to make a choice to raise our children with confidence and try our best to watch what we’re saying and doing so our kids don’t inherit our “stuff.”


About Kumari Ghafoor-Davis

Kumari is a social worker and a parent coach. Her company, Optimistic Expectations fosters better parent/child relationships and family cohesiveness on her website Optimistic Expectations. She is the author of Real Talk: Ten Parenting Strategies to Raise Confident Successful Children.

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