How to Instill Value and Worth into Our Children?
We instill things into our children every day whether we realize it or not. Sometimes those ideals are instilled intentionally: other times, unintentionally. The things instilled unintentionally come from all sorts of places – our upbringing, media, relationships, society. Unfortunately, when the value and worth of our children are established by some or all of those influences, they may be left ill-equipped for navigating this journey of life.
So how do we honor and instill our children’s value and worth?
- Be intentional. Thoughtfully consider 2 or 3 things that we consistently do or say on a daily basis that directly affects our children’s perspective of their value and worth. Then intentionally decide how to alter or maintain those actions or words in a way that strengthens our child.
- Make a distinction between the choices they make and their value and worth as a person. Refrain from saying, “Be good,” or “Be a good boy/girl.” Their true value IS good. We are good. It’s the choices that we need to focus on, not the person’s value when disciplining. There are good and bad choices NOT good and bad children. We all are inherently valuable.
- Use of affirmations. Instead of saying “Good job!” “Way to go!” “You’re awesome!” or creating incentive plans to guide the behavior of our children we can acknowledge their good choices, accomplishments, talents, skills, problem-solving abilities with words that affirm our children. This allows our children to discover their own value and worth by fully experiencing and recognizing success in themselves.
- Allow and encourage emotional expression in words and actions, parents and children alike. We can name the emotions being experienced when conflicts arise and discuss ways to manage them (journaling, creating art, screaming into a pillow, talking to a trusted friend/adult, seeking counsel). One of the most powerful ways we can communicate to our children that their feelings matter is by apologizing to them when we make a mistake (like overreacting, yelling, interrupting them, rushing them). When they see us effectively and healthily manage “mistakes” or “failures” they will gain the confidence that they too can encounter and effectively overcome mistakes/failures.
- Provide clear, reasonable, and consistent expectations–consistency is translated to children as “safety.” Children feel safe when they understand what is expected of them and why it is expected. We are all more likely to follow rules, guidelines, and procedures when we understand the justification for them.
While instilling a strong sense of value and worth is not for the faint at heart, we must take heart knowing that we are instilling one of the greatest gifts we as humans could possibly receive.
Let our children no longer be the “forgotten citizen,” for their true value is summed up best by Maria Montessori herself:“The child is both a hope and promise for mankind.”
“The child is both a hope and promise for mankind.”
Children’s House Teacher
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.