Self-Love in Children
Self-Love and Internal Appreciation for Children

february 2009 E-NEWSLETTER

In this Issue:

  • What is Internal Appreciation
  • How Parents Can Increase Their Child's Internal Appreciation
  • Ask Dr. Andie
  • What's New

What is Internal Appreciation

Since this is the month that celebrates Valentine's Day where the word love is rampant, this month's newsletter will focus on how children can learn about self-love. One of the greatest gift's a parent can provide their children is the ability to learn self-love or what I like to call internal appreciation. The word appreciation from a financial perspective means something that increases in value or price over time. Internal appreciation describes how an individual values or loves himself or herself. It comes from knowing, on your own that you are worthy without receiving outside verification from others.

Benefits of Internal Appreciation:

  • It keeps growing and expanding
  • Increases confidence in oneself
  • Goes beyond self-esteem
  • Allows one to make healthy, loving choices for oneself
  • If you can love yourself, you can love others
How Parents Can Increase Their Child's Internal Appreciation

A child is born loving, and as a Parent Investor in their life, it is your job to remind them of this. Young children seek confirmation about who they are. They are born without awareness of themselves and only later, through interaction with other people, do they begin to develop an internal sense of self. It's part of the process of differentiating themselves from others. As children's awareness of other people and their expectations grow, he/she will begin to seek approval from other people they believe are more knowledgeable. Since children look for approval and recognition from those they sense are important and knowing, parents often typically fill that role.

Some simple strategies to increase internal appreciation:

1. The 'Youer than You' statement - This is a strategy to redirect their external verification back to them. For example, let's say your child draws you a picture and wants to know if you like it, just ask, "Do you like the picture?" Most likely, he/she will give you an enthusiastic 'Yes!' which will prompt you to reply, "Wonderful. You liking it is the most important thing! Or if your child came home from school and told you that she/he received an "A" on a test, the 'Youer than You statement' would sound like this: "You must be so proud of yourself! You really studied hard for that test and it must feel great to get that kind of grade! Notice, that each sentence started with 'You' instead of 'I'. By continuing to redirect external verification back to them, the message will eventually create and expand internal appreciation of their talents, self-image, and love for themselves.

2. The Love Hug - This is a fun technique to continually reinforce loving oneself in a symbolic way . It's a little game to play with your child as well as a powerful Parent Investor tool. As in the picture below, help your child learn the Love Hug. Take their right hand and place it on their left shoulder and place their left hand on their right shoulder, crisscross. It is as if one is hugging oneself. With eyes open or closed, instruct your child to say out loud, "I love me, I love thee. I love myself in every way, every day!" Do this with your child every day (perhaps right before going to sleep at night or when they wake up in the morning). Let it become a fun family tradition.

Ask Dr. Andie

Questions can be submitted through the website and if possible, will be answered either in the Q&A section or in the Power2Relate Newsletter.

In your book, The Best Investment, you write about how creating self-love for your child is one of the best "investments" a parent can do for them. I hear so much about self-esteem and the importance of that for children. What is the difference between self-esteem and self-love?

Both self-esteem and self-love are often linked together. Self-esteem is a person's subjective appraisal of himself or herself which can be positive or negative. Self-love, in my opinion, comes before self-esteem. Loving oneself is something that comes from your core and is the foundation of unconditional regard for your own well-being. In order to have loving relationships with others, I believe we must first have loving relationships with ourselves. When we love ourselves, the by-product is high self-esteem.


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