Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Have you ever seen how proud your children are when you say "yay" because they accomplished some small feat? They feel that way because a person's self-esteem is all about feeling good about oneself and feeling like a worthwhile person. That's the foundation with which we cope with life.
Babies have no idea whether they are pretty
or not. It's we adults who put so much importance on looks, by telling our kids
how cute and pretty they are and dressing them up like little dolls. Babies
are beautiful, though, so there's nothing wrong with telling them. But we need to mention how smart and caring they are, as well.
When I was a child, my parents told me I was pretty -- but what they really emphasized was
how smart and independent I was. "Be a leader, not a follower," they said (along with other cliches
of that sort). So growing up, I was more proud of how articulate I was and how
funny I was than of how pretty I was. That was my place in the world.
That's what self-esteem helps children find: their place. Babies believe that they are important because they're loved and nurtured on a
continuous basis. Of course I can't help doting on my daughter and how beautiful she is.
But I also tell her how savvy, smart, caring and kind she is. I
want her to know that I value all of those things about her.
Sure, it's really easy to
dress babies up and tote them around town like hot new handbags. People will definitely stop you
on the street and admire the baby in your arms; they'll tell you how beautiful your baby is, what gorgeous eyes she has, how cutely she's dressed. But while that certainly feels good, proud parents need to reinforce how amazing their whole child
is. Otherwise, he or she will grow up thinking their value is truly only face value.
Remember: Most children will hit an awkward stage. (I did!) And when that occurs, you
want your children to still feel amazing about themselves -- braces and all.