Cady climbed in the car, and I listened for the reassuring click of the seat belt that told me she was safe.
“Momma… I have something to tell you.”
I let out a sigh as I looked into the rearview mirror to see the SeriousSad expression she wears when someone has hurt her feelings.
“I was playing on the tire swing at school, and one of my friends from dance came over with another girl. They asked if they could swing with me, and I said yes. Then they started whispering and laughed and ran away. I know they were talking about me.”
I took a deep breath to clear my head so I could think of something to say. This is not new for us. Cady has had her share of mean girl issues. She has come a long way, but still has a lot to learn.
“Are you sure they were talking about you? They could have been whispering about anything.” I knew she was right, but in my heart I wanted her to be wrong.
“Yeah mom. I could tell.”
And she is right. You can tell when someone is talking about you, and at eight the girls have not learned to do it behind your back so that you do not notice.
“I’m sorry that happened to you, but you know what they said is not really important. Right?”
That’s the thing isn’t it? We know in our minds that it isn’t important, but sometimes it is hard to convince our heart of that truth. That is where us mommas come in. It is our job to teach our daughters and sons that they are worth so much more than other people think, and sometimes, more than they themselves even realize.
When I got a chance to stop, I looked at her so that she could see the honesty and love in my eyes. “Baby Girl, I love you, and what I want you to know more than anything is that no one can steal your worth unless you allow it.”
She nods to show she is listening, but I know it has not settled into the most important part of her yet. I know with time and repetition it will. I hope.
Teaching our children self worth is so important. Here are three things we do:
1) Tell them. How will our children know their value if we don’t tell them. I do not mean that we should create entitled children, but we need to teach our kids they are worth something. That their dreams and abilities have value. So many people will be around to tell them this is not true. We need to be there to tell them it is.
2) Teach them. We need to teach our children that what they feel about themselves is more important than what others think, and that someone can only make them feel inferior if they allow it. This is a hard lesson to learn, but if we are consistent with our message they will get it.
3) Show them. I think the most important rule for parents is to teach by example. We have to model the traits we want them to learn. That means that we can not base our worth on the opinions of others. We have to tell ourselves that no one can make us feel less than unless we allow it.
How do you teach self worth to you children?