Self-respect – Understanding Your Impact on Yourself

    Having self-respect means standing by our values and treating ourselves with as much kindness, patience, compassion, and understanding that we would have with our best friend, our favourite teacher, or our favourite relative.
    the word “respect” means to hold in esteem or honour; to show regard or consideration for. The word “self-respect” means to hold “proper esteem or regard for the dignity of one’s character”.
    An easy way to talk with our kids about self-respect is to teach them to treat themselves as they would treat others (like your best friend, your favourite teacher, or your favourite relative).
    So if we look at the complete definition it means “treat others the way you would want to be treated and treat yourself as you would treat others.”
    Too many people live in a world of “self-beat-up” – putting themselves down and saying things to themselves that they would never say to someone else.

    Why is self-respect important?
    Self-respect is critical for developing strong self-esteem. When we respect ourselves, we like ourselves.
    How we treat ourselves impacts every area of our life from our relationships to our career to our happiness. It also impacts how other people treat us. If others see us put ourselves down, they may put us down as well. By having self-respect, we show others how to treat us.
    Coaching tips for parents
    How we can help our kids learn self-respect?
    We can help our children learn self-respect by modelling self-respect ourselves and by talking with them about the importance of self-respect. Here are some specific tips:
    Teach positive self-talk- if our children see us putting ourselves down all the time, how will they ever learn not to do the same?
    Teach children how to engage in positive self-talk. Kids should never call themselves names or put themselves down.
    2. Discuss values – Discuss your children’s values with them. Make sure they understand what they believe in and the importance of standing by their values.

    Self-respect – Understanding Your Impact on You
    3. Discuss decision making-
    Talk with your children about important issues such as cheating, lying, stealing, skipping school, bullying others, experimenting with drugs/alcohol, so they understand and decide what they want for themselves. This will help them choose their own beliefs when feeling pressured by peers to do something they don’t want to do. As parents we can try to tell them what to do but it is much more important for them to understand what their own values are and why they are so important.
    4. Choose compassion-Talk with your children about treating themselves with kindness and having compassion for themselves. Give them the tools for 
managing mistakes, handling challenges, and overcoming failure so they can stand strong and remain confident even when things don’t go their way. We live in a world where being the best and winning has become far too important. Kids need to understand that it is ok to ‘not be the best’ / ‘not get full marks on a test’ / ‘not be the most popular’ / ‘not be on the 1st team’ – it is so important for them to understand this at an early age. To do THEIR best is always good enough.
    5. Embrace uniqueness-Talk with your children about honouring and embracing their own uniqueness so they don’t cave into peer pressure to conform to other’s 
styles, beliefs, and actions. Kids often put themselves down because they see everyone else as better than they are. Teach them to honour and love what is special about them.
    6. Look for “teachable moments” – Look for examples to start a discussion. If you see someone treating themselves with respect, point it out as an example of 
self-respect. The opposite is true too. If you see someone allowing others to treat them poorly, point it out as an example of a lack of self-respect. Then ask them how each situation would make them feel if it was them.
    7. Discuss how to be in a relationship–As your children get older, talk with them about how to be in a relationship with someone. Lack of respect within relationships is at an all time high amongst teens. Up loading inappropriate images, conversations and videos is becoming a real problem. This is both in friendship and romantic relationship.
    Remember that children learn from everything we say and do (they are constantly developing belief systems (both consciously and subconsciously based on what they hear and see). We can help our kids learn to have self-respect by demonstrating respectful behaviour towards ourselves. It is impossible to behave perfectly all the time but to become more aware of what our children notice and hear is so important. By their nature alone they will watch and listen to as much as they possibly can at home – even behind closed doors.
    Key points
    1. Treating yourself with respect and demanding that others treat you with respect is a choice.
    2. You are not showing self-respect when you “put yourself down” or “beat your self up”.
    3. You are not showing self-respect when you allow others to put you down or be verbally, physically, or emotionally abusive towards you.
    4. You are not showing self-respect when you put others needs before your own to the detriment of yourself.
    5. Saying “yes” to your values and “no” to peer pressure develops powerful self- respect.

    It is not always easy to stand up to peer pressure but if your kids understand respect, understand what values mean and how important they are – and if they see your values and how you live by them, you will go a long way to helping them be stronger, more confident kids.

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