Self-Esteem Versus Self-Worth

Is there a difference between self-esteem and self-worth? You bet there is! Most people use these two interchangeably, yet they are hugely different. We usually speak more about self-esteem, and the importance of making sure our children feel good about themselves, than we do self-worth. If you’ve never thought about this, you might be asking, what is the difference?

Self-worth is about being, or who we are; while self-esteem is about doing, or what we do.


Self-worth is a core belief in myself. It doesn’t change and is much deeper than self-esteem. The beginnings of self-worth are rooted in… are you ready for this… our experiences in childhood. During the first year of life, a baby learns if they cry, and someone listens to that cry and meets their needs, they feel important. A stronger self emerges. This means pressure, dear parents, to get this right during the formative years!

This confirms that the parent-child relationship is extremely important! Later on, peers become the primary influence, which is all the more reason for us to be intentional early on. We surely want them to be more influenced by us than their peers. Agree?

We are able to make statements like this, if we have a strong sense of self:

I am of value, simply because God created me.
I believe in myself.
I am loveable.
I am capable.
I can make a difference.
I am enough.
I am competent, even when I mess up.

Self-esteem is what I think, feel and believe about myself. It can change in a moment and is dependent on our accomplishments and performances. See if this resonates. You are feeling fairly confident about your parenting abilities until your parents and in-laws give you their unsolicited opinion about how they think you should be parenting. Wham! In a flash, you feel totally inept and begin to second-guess yourself.

How to foster your child’s healthy self-worth:

  • Respect their feelings and opinions
  • Encourage them
  • Let them fail
  • Let them make decisions whenever possible
  • Love them unconditionally

We want to be the biggest encourager they have ever encountered! This means giving them kudos from time to time. Saying things like “good work” is better than no praise, but what is most important is giving them credit for the process, “you knew just how to manage your time so you would be finished with your project by the due date.”

Kids need to fail, and we need to allow it. As hard as this is to watch, be reminded failure contributes to a healthy sense of self.

They need to be adept at problem solving, so let them make decisions whenever possible. This means to refrain from telling them what to do, or how to do it. The message this sends to them is you have confidence in their ability to come up with the solution that’s right for them. Talk about a confidence booster!

Respect them enough to let them share their views and opinions even though they might be different from yours. Ask them what their thoughts are on certain things. This is particularly true with teens.

Give them your time and undivided attention in some way each day. You don’t need to spend money to do this. Play with your young children, go get a coke with your teen or spend one-on-one time together before bed.

We know the way we feel about ourselves affects the way we live our lives – specifically, how we act, how we treat others and even the decisions we make. All the more reason to be mindful about helping our children embrace the fact that they matter!

There’s Always Hope,





Need more help? Parents often jokingly ask Amy, “Will you go home with me?” While she can’t do that, Amy is available to consult with parents through her consultation services. Click Here to learn more.

There’s Hope For The Yellers!

HURRY UP!” or “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?” Do either of those sound familiar?


I don’t think any of us ever plan to yell at our children, but the reality is most of us do. Some of us yell a lot, and some of us yell occasionally. If you grew up in a home of yellers, most likely you’re a yeller too.

We tend to think that we need to get louder for our kids to hear us. Actually the opposite is true. The louder we get, the less they hear. And besides that, nobody likes to be yelled at.

Yelling at kids:

  • disconnects us from them
  • scares them
  • teaches them it is ok to yell
  • teaches them they don’t have to comply until we yell
  • creates tension and stress in your home
  • makes them the target for your anger

If you’re ready to change the trajectory of your family, you can! It is not an easy habit to break, but it can be done with great diligence. To do this, the focus is on you, not your kids. It is not our kids that make us yell, contrary to what many parents believe. It is all about us – our behavior and the choices we make in the moment. Self-control is the key.

Alternatives to consider:

  • Catch yourself, and identify your triggers. (Are you tired, mad, or stressed?)
  • Take five. Tell your kids that you are feeling frustrated, and you will be back in five minutes to start over.
  • Apologize and ask them for forgiveness. Tell them you are working hard to break this habit.


  • The tenor in your home will change.
  • Your child’s attitude toward you will change.
  • You’ll be a happier person.

This habit does not change overnight. Take one day at a time and even consider enlisting someone to help hold you accountable.

I’m willing to bet your kids will thank you for it one day.

There’s Always Hope,





Need more help?  Parents often jokingly ask Amy, “Will you go home with me?”  While she can’t do that, Amy is available to consult with parents through her consultation services.  Click Here to learn more.

Entitled or Responsible: How to Raise a Self-Sufficient Child

At the end of the day, most parents I know want to be able to say that they are the proud parents of a responsible, confident and independent adult. If that’s true for you, then the goal is to raise a child who wants to do the right thing, can think for himself and is ready to leave home at 18 years old equipped for the real world.

Let’s be more specific and consider a few different kinds of responsibility.pwa_feature_responsibility

Personal responsibility – taking care of yourself and becoming the best person you can be.

Moral responsibility – doing what is right by friends, family and others.

Community responsibility – volunteering, serving and contributing.

Legal responsibility – following family rules, school rules and becoming law-abiding citizens.

Financial responsibility – starting early with allowances to teach them about money management.

Exactly what does it mean to hold your child accountable? It means that you expect and require them to do what they are supposed to do at all times. Responsibility is at the foundation of lifelong success and a necessary component for being able to navigate and function in this convoluted world. To teach our kids about accountability is ongoing and doesn’t happen overnight.

Be warned, though. The exact opposite of this is raising an entitled child. It means doing things for them, allowing them to get by with wrong-doing, not requiring them to contribute to the family, managing their life for them and the list goes on…

What are some ways you can guide them down this road of responsibility?

Give them choices. How are they going to practice being responsible if we don’t give them opportunities? Start early offering choices. Little kids get little choices, “do you want milk or juice” and big kids get big choices, “do you want to start your homework before or after you return from gymnastics”?

Let them fail. The biggest mistake parents are making these days is not allowing their kids to experience adversity. So many parents tell me: “it just kills me to see them struggle” “but she’ll be upset” or “I just can’t stand it when she loses.” Fixing things for our children is innate within most parents, but it robs them of the opportunity to learn about responsibility and independence.

Give them chores. Without a doubt, one of the best ways to begin the process of instilling responsibility is with chores. Children experience what it’s like to contribute to the greater good of the family. Doing chores with a parent builds a sense of pride. Let them be involved in the process of deciding which chores they would like to do. When they get to decide, they have ownership and the chances of compliance will be greater. This is opposed to us dictating that they clean their bathroom, wash their clothes and unload the dishwasher.

Say it once, just once. I’ll bet I talk to at least one parent daily who says to me “I have to tell him over and over to go do what I asked. He just won’t listen.” My response is the very same each time. He knows he doesn’t have to. You see, his mother has a history of not holding him accountable when she asks the first time. Nothing good ever comes out of this scenario. With each request, mother gets more irritated and loud; the child gets frustrated that his mother is nagging. Most importantly, mother is not holding him accountable.

Set a good example. Are you a blamer? Do you condemn your son’s baseball coach for what was your child’s error or do you criticize your daughter’s teacher for requiring that she redo her paper? Do you own your mistakes and correct them? Your attitude and behavior will be what influences your child.

So, there you have it—some ideas about how to stretch and grow your children as you guide them into adulthood. You will be equipping them with one of the attributes it takes to make it in this great big world: responsibility.

There’s Always Hope,





Need more help?  Parents often jokingly ask Amy, “Will you go home with me?”  While she can’t do that, Amy is available to consult with parents through her consultation services.  Click Here to learn more.



Is Character Lost? How to Get it Back!

You have the chance of a lifetime … the privilege to shape and mold your child’s character! You don’t have many years to do it either. Developing character is an ongoing endeavor and not something you can teach them about once. We have to be intentional in times like these, because our society makes it more and more difficult to instill these important qualities in our kids. With the internet, television and social media spewing all manner of inappropriateness, we are working against the societal grain.

We live in exciting times that point us to emerging research that confirms what I’ve always believed. When it comes to predicting our kids’ success in life, more important than intelligence is their character.Character_Pic

  • Can they self-regulate, handle disappointment and persevere?
  • Do they tend to have a more positive outlook on life, are they kind, caring, respectful and so on?

I happen to think that many parents today are way too focused on grades, performance, competition and scholarship possibilities more than they are in helping their kids become good humans with a strong moral compass. By the way, the spin-off of all that pressure is causing unnecessary anxiety in our children.

The optimal time to help our kids and teach them these all-important skills is during their preschool years, so start early. And, get this, during those early years it’s through play that they learn the best!

Having said that, let’s talk about what we can do to help them.

  1. The first place to look is us. Are we modeling and living out fairness, compassion, respectfulness, honesty, love and patience or any other character quality that is important to you. Children first begin to learn about virtues from us, so we determine which traits our kids will see modeled.
  2. It’s not enough for them to just see us live out the virtues we want them to espouse. We need to be positive and encouraging when we catch them exhibiting moral behavior. Bring it to their attention. Tell them you noticed how fair they played that board game. As we know, if we want repeat behavior, we give them the positive attention it deserves.
  3. Teach them to serve others. Involve your family in community service activities. Churches offer many opportunities to serve and you could also show them what it’s like to be available for family and friends when they need a little help.
  4. It’s advisable to let your sweet things struggle and even fail at times. Just think, they will get opportunities to practice managing frustrations and failures because we know that life is full of disappointments. This is one of the ways they become strong and resilient. Sell them on the idea that with effort they can improve. When they are struggling with grasping a new concept, say multiplication, encourage them as they practice until the light bulb comes on. Self-esteem and confidence is the result.
  5. Identify their strengths and bring them to their attention. Let her know you noticed she extended forgiveness to someone that was really mean to her or that he was so patient with his annoying younger brother as he was learning a new game.

A thought to hold on to and be hopeful about … the fruits of your labor and diligence in modeling and teaching these skills will probably not be evidenced right away. You will likely see this much later and it might not be until your child is in adulthood. But don’t give up. Have faith that many kids eventually espouse the virtues your family values.

Wherever you are in the world, I’m just a phone call away!  Over the last year, I have developed custom packages that walk you through the most critical issues parents deal with today.  Grouping them into 4 stages has now made my one-on-one consulting time even more affordable than before!  Click Here to read more about my Parenting Packages.

There’s Always Hope,