Children's Self-Esteem

May I invite the parents who are tuned in today to transport themselves back for a moment into the world of the very young and to relive the pressures that often exist there--where unconcealed aggression often lies just below the surface.

Life can be especially difficult for a child who is odd or different in some obvious way. Those who are overweight or excessively thin or those whose noses curve up or down or to one side, or those whose skin is ruddy or whose hair is too curly or too straight, or one who has big feet or a crossed eye or protruding ears or a large behind. A youngster can be physically perfect except for a single embarrassing feature, yet under a barrage of ridicule, he or she will worry about that one deficiency as though it were the only important thing in life.

Do you remember those days from your own childhood when you may have had to fight to defend your honor, even if it cost you your front teeth, where self-esteem teetered on the brink of disintegration with each failure or mistake? This threatening aspect of childhood must be remembered if we hope to understand why some children would rather take 40 lashes than go to a new school or perform in front of their peers or wear something a little bit different.

We can help our kids cope with these pressures if we remember our own childhood experiences.

With Focus on the Family, this is Dr. James Dobson.

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