Courageous Conversations with our kids

What do you see when you look in the mirror? My answer to this question 15 years ago would have been a lot different to what I would say today. Growing up, I lacked confidence and self-esteem. I was that typical awkward kid who hung back rather than took the lead in fear of being laughed at, judged, called names and left ashamed. Looking back, it was all in my head. My lack of self- assurance held me back from a lot… joining that netball team, making friends, my chance at reaching my full potential. I am saddened by my childhood when I look back at images of myself as a pre-teen. Now that I am a mom to two little girls myself, I would never, ever want them to experience what I did growing up and I realise that it is my responsibility to ensure that this never happens… and this starts with how they perceive my confidence and self-esteem in every day acts towards not only myself but towards others as well as theirs.

When I look in the mirror, as a 31-year-old woman and mom to two, I see strength, bravery, love, pride… So now I ask you, what do you think your kids see when they look at you? Chances are they see a hero, they see love, they see protection, they see perfection!

The way we speak to yourselves, of ourselves and about ourselves will indirectly impact the way our children feel about themselves, their identity and how they speak of themselves. This to me, is a major responsibility that I don’t take lightly! Our example of self-assurance, confidence and self- esteem forms the basis of their shield and armour when ‘tested’ in the ‘big bad world’ out there.

It’s for this very reason that I am honoured to have partnered with the Dove Self-Esteem Project -a mission that has been on-going for the past 16 years, which aims at helping millions of young people all over the world to enjoy a positive relationship with their bodies, helping shatter beauty stereotypes, build body confidence and inspire them to feel empowered and included – in order for them to reach their full potential.

This past Friday they held their annual #DoveDayAtHome via Zoom which saw an uplifting and engaging session with some amazing leading experts in the fields of psychology, health and body image to create a programme of evidence-based resources including parenting advice to help young people form healthy friendships, overcome body image issues and be their best selves. The topics for the discussion included; how to build confidence and self-esteem, help your child defy body trends and beat the body-shamers and how to have a great relationship with your child.

One of the biggest takings I took from the #CourageousConversationsForKids session was the simple tools we as parents can practise in our everyday lives such as saying the affirmations together on a daily basis with our kids… ‘You are worthy, you are loved’ and having open lines of communication with our kids to ensure they always feel comfortable to talk to us about issues that bother them. Just this year I experienced an issue with Maddie who is just four-and-a-half, a little girl who is her friend at school was making her feel ‘less’ by telling her that her dress wasn’t as pretty as hers and she must change her hairstyle. It was gut wrenching! I found myself shocked at I was thrown this curve ball at just four-and-a-half! A prime example of the outside influencers that influence our children’s confidence and self-confidence. I of course was SO proud that Maddie opened up to me about this and I was able to ‘address it’ as best I could but I still found myself feeling a bit speechless wondering if I had said the ‘right thing’ to help her through her feelings of this experience.

#CourageousConversationsForKids was honestly exactly what I needed to hear and I strongly encourage you, if you were not able to catch it, head over to z.humanz.ai/dsep to download the DSEP resources to find out more about the tips and advice that was shared. You can also view the Zoom live here!

So far, Dove has reached over 60 million young people in 142 countries, becoming the largest provider of self-esteem education in the world. But we’re not stopping there, we’ve committed to reach 1⁄4 billion by 2030.

This is a paid partnership with Dove.

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