My husband and I moved to a small town right after he graduated from university. As it turns out, I was never able to fit in nor did I feel comfortable there. After nine long years I finally convinced him to relocate to a larger city. He gave up job security and a pretty bright future in his organization for me. I am grateful.
I have been working on building my self esteem by reading and listening to taped seminars. I’ve gained a great deal from these self help tools and in the process have also learned some techniques to build self esteem in my children. The technique that I chose to focus on came from a Career seminar. The speaker instructs that children need to know that they are loved unconditionally. I have done my best to put his suggestions into practice.
Among other confidence builders, each night at bedtime, and sometimes during the day, I have a conversation with my three year old daughter that goes something like this:
Guess how much I Love you?
Up to the moon and back again. How much do I love you when you are naughty and I put you in time out?
Up to the moon and back again. How much do I love you when I get angry at you for something you have done and put you in your room?
Up to the moon and back again. How can that be that even when I punish you I Love you up to the moon and back again?
Because I’m SO special and Mommy and Daddy Love me no matter what.
My husband and I and our two children were in the process of relocating. Our new house was not available for another month and as such we were splitting our time between hotels and in-laws. It was quite a stressful time. New jobs, new city, new friends, etc. One night was particularly trying.
A bout of the flu was running through our family and on this particular week we were all staying in one hotel room. Pretty close quarters for a bunch of sick people. I was sleep deprived and needless to say the disposition of my family members could certainly have used some improvement.
To further complicate matters, my two year old son had just discovered that he could climb out of his crib. So, not only did I have my daughter in bed with me, I now had the pleasure of my darling little boy joining us as well. He was pretty excited about his new discovery and thrilled at the opportunity to play… not sleep in a big bed. By this time it was 3:00 a.m. with no sign of him drifting off to sleep in the near future.
I was lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, thinking, another month of this… I’m not sure how many more sleepless nights I can take. Just at that moment my beautiful little boy looked up at me with his big brown eyes, grinning from ear to ear and said, “Back Again”.
My son and I now have this same conversation every day. If I forget, my kids are quick to remind me that we forgot to play the “I Love You Game”. Children need to know that we love them unconditionally. I hope this exercise is a step in the right direction. I hope that when my kids are teenagers and one of them really messes up that they will remember that “They are SO special and Mommy and Daddy love them no matter what.”