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let your light SHINE

let your light SHINE

We take great care to teach our children to be humble. We want them to be good sports when they lose, and to learn at their own pace without concerns of being smarter than others. Yet at the same time, we want to raise our kids so that they never give up, and work hard to achieve their goals. We also hope they’ll be able to have confidence that doesn’t fall into the realm of arrogance.

Pride is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins. However, scientists have divided this emotion into two parts: “Hubristic pride,” having self-esteem fueled by conceit and arrogance, and “Authentic Pride,” having genuine self-esteem derived from accomplishments and positive mental health. It may surprise you to learn that the same emotion responsible for making us arrogant is also responsible for giving us grit. The trick is, of course, in teaching children to be proud of themselves and their accomplishments without letting those feelings grow into a superiority complex.

Fortunately, helping our children learn how to let their light truly shine isn’t all that hard. We can help them take pride in themselves and their accomplishments easily by being supportive and lending a helping hand through their struggles—without going overboard. Here are a few examples of how we can do that.

acknowledge their successes, but only when it matters

Praising our children is important, but when you praise them for everything they do, that praise loses its value. It’s not necessary to praise them for eating all their dinner, cleaning their room, or doing any of the things they are supposed to be doing anyway. Instead, save that praise for when your children have done something above and beyond what they normally do.

This isn’t always easy to do when your child is struggling in their behavior, but this is when it is even more important. When it feels like your child never does anything right, it can be work to find something to praise them about, but doing so can change their lives forever. Work past your frustration and seek out even the smallest thing to encourage your child.

ask them if they are proud of themselves

When your child does well on an exam, passes their driver’s ed course, or wins a baseball game, our usual response is to say, “I’m proud of you!” You can help your child grow by instead asking them if they are proud of themselves, and if so, why? By answering this for themselves, they can learn that feeling pride is okay, and to identify what makes them feel that way.

praise them for overcoming obstacles

Children who are praised for being smart will often refuse to try more challenging tests when presented with the opportunity. The reason being is that if they try something difficult and fail, it will strip them of that self-identification as smart. Instead, it is better to praise a child for trying something difficult, whether they succeed or not. Choosing how you word things can have a very big impact on your child.

be proud of yourself

Taking pride in yourself, and loving every part of who you are, is important for your mental health. We are all beautiful and unique people, and we deserve to have a positive self-image. These days it is easy to feel negative about who we are, with photoshopped models and the whole world to compare ourselves to. By being able to honestly view our good points, and take pride in those qualities, it can change how we view ourselves, how our children view themselves and how we will hopefully impact the world in which we live.

children’s books to help kids shine

Here are a few books that will encourage kids to shine their light. Firenze’s Light by Jessica Collaço is a sweet book that shows how with the support of her friends, Firenze is able to take pride in her light. Shine by Patrick McDonnell is about a starfish that wishes she could be one of the stars in the sky and how she learns to appreciate where and who she is. Gwynne Fair & Shining by Stephanie Lisa Tara is a whimsical story that has an empowering message for young girls.

coloring fun

Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.

Download PDF • 270KB

share with us

We would love to hear your experiences and advice on ways we can encourage our kids to let their light shine. Are there any books or resources you feel can help? Thanks so much for reading and feel free to comment.


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