6 Ways To Build Your Child’s Self-Worth (When Co-parenting With A Narcissist)
Building your child's confidence and self-worth will set them up for success for years to come. Life can be full of unexpected experiences, like their parent’s divorcing, and they will need the confidence and resilience to overcome these obstacles. While you may be a supportive parent, the HCCP or the narcissistic will rob your child of their self-worth, confidence, and inner voice.
The long-term effects of forgoing one’s self-worth or shutting down their inner voice can lead to poor boundaries, unhealthy relationships, people-pleasing tendencies, self-abandonment, lying, lack of trust in self, and much more. While you cannot control a HCCP, you can influence and encourage your children in your home to develop their voice and value to feel worthy of love.
Signs your child may be struggling with their confidence and self-worth are withdrawn behavior, changes in appetite, putting their needs last, looking for approval, fidgeting or anxious, feeling lonely, finding making friends challenging, avoiding anything that feels new or hard, showing regression, lying or cheating if losing a game, experiencing a decline in grades or participation, highly critical of self….etc.
Here Are 6 Ways To Build Your Child’s Self-Worth And Inner Voice:
1. Accept Children For Who They Are
One of the most important things you can do for a child is to accept them for who they are. Acceptance is not the same as approval, it simply means that you see and understand your child as who they are without trying to force them to change against their own will. When a child feels accepted by a parent or caregiver, this allows them to feel safe and express their individual thoughts or feelings. By simply accepting their strengths and challenges, it fosters a healthy self-esteem in your child.
Another way to show acceptance is through physical gestures, such as hugs or gentle touches. These small acts of kindness can go a long way toward making a child feel valued and loved. If you have a child who is sensitive to touch, it may be best to ask first or give a compliment on something unique to them. Ultimately, showing a child acceptance is one of the most important things you can do to support their developmental years, as they grow toward a happy and healthy adult.
No one is perfect and children shouldn’t have to be either.
2. Respect Their Inner Voice
As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is to respect your child's inner voice. This doesn't mean that you have to agree with what they say or do, but it does mean that you listen to them and try to see the world from their perspective. It can be easy to dismiss a child's concerns as "just a phase" or "imaginary," but doing so can undermine their confidence and make them feel like their opinions are irrelevant. Instead, take the time to talk to your child about their feelings and experiences, and let them know that you're there for them no matter what. By showing respect for your child's inner voice, it will help them develop confidence where they aren’t afraid to speak up or tell the truth.
3. Refrain From Criticism, Judgment, or Expectations
It can be difficult to watch a child make mistakes, especially when we know that those mistakes could have serious consequences. However, it is important to remember that children are still learning and growing, and that they will make mistakes along the way.
If a parent is constantly judgmental of their child or sets unattainable expectations, it will only hinder their development. Instead, we need to create an environment where they feel safe to experiment and explore. You can do this by offering invaluable guidance and support, rather than criticism. Helping children to learn from their mistakes will enable them to develop a secure attachment.
4. Encourage Learning New Skills
When a child learns new skills, it helps to build their confidence. They feel proud of themselves when they can accomplish something that they couldn't do before. This newfound confidence can lead to a positive self-image, which is essential for success in life. Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to take risks and try new things, as they can appreciate the process of self-discovery. They're also more likely to persevere when faced with difficulties.
Your child can learn new skills by attending classes, participating in activities, and exploring on their own. The important thing is that they get the opportunity to practice and hone in on their skills as they evolve. With each new skill that they learn, children will gain a little more confidence - and that can make all the difference in the world.
5. Engage In A Hobby or Activities
Pursuing a hobby can help children to develop a stronger sense of self-worth and self-love. When children invest their time and energy into something they are passionate about, they feel a sense of joy and happiness. This indirectly boosts their confidence and can trickle over into other areas of their lives, such as school and relationships.
In addition, hobbies can provide children with a sense of identity. They can give kids a chance to explore their interests and talents, and to find out what makes them unique. As children discover more about themselves through their personal interests, they will learn to love and appreciate themselves more. Ultimately, taking up a hobby is an excellent way for kids to build self-worth.
6. Discover A Creative Art
Discovering creative art can build self-worth for a child because it helps them explore their emotions and to express themselves in a healthy way. When children are able to express themselves through art, they feel more confident and proud of their creations. This can boost their self-esteem and help them to feel good about creating something on their own.
Additionally, creative arts can provide children with an outlet for stress and anxiety. Participating in art activities can help children to relax and to feel calm. It can also be a fun and enjoyable way for children to bond with their peers. Overall, learning creative arts is beneficial for children because it helps them to develop their sense of self-worth, as well as heal emotional wounds.
If you find yourself challenged with a narcissistic co-parent, don’t hesitate to reach out. We understand how emotionally taxing it can be on your and your children. We are here to support you. Also, check out our children’s workbooks for more on processing hard emotions and fears with divorce.