Tuesday, 6 September 2016

GUEST BLOGGER Anthea Chatten looks at Raising Children with Good self esteem.

I'd like to introduce Andrea Chatten, a Children’s Emotional & Behavioural Psychologist and Author of The Blinks novels

Andrea will be delivering one of the first workshop/ lectures at the Opening of the BeBright Project Training Centre, Kitto Road SE14 on Saturday 12th November between 2pm and 4pm. The talk is aimed at parents who have children of ten years and above.  The topic will be on how to understand the emotional journey our children go on and what we can do as parents to support them. 

I'm so delighted we can offer such an exciting trainer as one of our first offerings.  More details about how to book tickets will follow but here's a little bit more about Andrea and an article that will give you an insight into the course and Andrea's approach, which I'm sure you'll agree is unique and powerful. 

Andrea has been working with vulnerable children for over 25 years in Sheffield and has decided to create a whole new professional area to help children and their parents and carers to develop positively. 

Check out her website here http://unravelcebpc.co.uk

She has some amazing testimonials from children and parents.  I can't wait until the 12th November to learn more techniques.  

As a teacher I very quickly specialised in children who presented with emotional and behavioural difficulties. I recognised it was my role to educate them in maths, English and the ten plus subjects that they needed to be taught, however it was also very obvious to me that these children needed more. I felt passionate and committed to help these children understand some of the difficult and complex feelings that they had which hugely affected their well-being.  No matter how clever they had potential to be, unless they received lots of emotional understanding and different ways of doing things, these kids could miss out on the most important thing we want for children - happiness.

When I became a parent I found myself challenged with the level of responsibility and pressure to ensure that my children did not become as emotionally vulnerable as some of the children who I had worked with for many years. Parenting was by far the most difficult job that I had done as it was the most important. Don’t get me wrong the love and commitment I had for my class really wasn’t much different to what I felt for my own children but this role was about me helping my children evolve from the blank canvas that they born as.

As parents we are fundamental in how our child’s canvas develops. How much colour is present? How much grey? How the colours are dispersed, how bright those colours are and more importantly how appealing the final product is within our culture.

Raising children with good-self-esteem takes patience, huge, regular bundles of patience. As children translate patience into love. Patience means being gentle. Patience makes us listen more actively. Patience means we find time in this crazy fast world to stop and just be in the moment with our children. This love then becomes locked away inside of children and activates a core message that runs through them like a stick of rock. In order for children to develop a good level of self-esteem the message needs to be positive - “I am ok. I’m not perfect, I have faults but I am ok. I am worthy of love.”

Reading this may make you feel pressured as it is your job and you, like every parent has made mistakes. You too just need to be ok, not perfect, you have flaws and bad days too. I had to have a serious word with myself when both my children were small. Coping day to day with sleep deprivation, a hungry breastfeeding baby and a toddler was tough. Some days I was not the best Mum. As I had only ever worked with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, it seemed so easy to mess up children and damage their self-esteem. Please let me reassure you now it isn’t that easy.

Long term damage to self-esteem develops over time. Not from a bad day here and there, though how we re-engage with our child afterwards is essential. Apologies and explanations mean we take responsibility for negative actions and don’t leave them with the child. It also means that we model real emotions and make mistakes a normal part of being human.  If we don’t re-connect emotionally afterwards, that can make children feel like it is their fault and they aren’t good enough. It is this internal dialogue that can also begin the spiral of low self-esteem.

Children’s self-esteem starts with us. We have to find as many ways to show children that we not only love them but like them. Also it is essential that if our children have pushed us[ac1]  into going off them, that this stage is only ever temporary and we the parents get back on them as soon as possible. 

Children are highly sensitive to this emotional withdrawal and that too fosters low self-esteem.
Raising children with good self-esteem is not difficult if we practise positive parenting and keep reflecting throughout the process. None us are perfect but with love, patience, and emotional warmth our children’s canvases can be bright, colourful and most of all happy.

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