How to Help Your Daughter Love Herself
On my flight back from Miss Expo on Monday morning I had the wonderful pleasure of reading More Than Saying I Love You: 4 Powerful Steps that Help Children Love Themselves by Dr. Andie Goodman Weiner, Ed.D. Dr. Andie, in very simple prose and with exercises at the end of each chapter, lays out the steps to help children learn to love themselves.
Dr. Andie’s premise is that every child is born a loving being. As a child grows though, she is exposed to outside influences that shape her perception of herself. These outside influences are parents, other family members, teachers and caregivers, and other people that will regularly be in a child’s life. These people will have either a positive or negative impact on the child. And as Dr. Andie also points out in her prologue, children are growing up in a very complex world and they need to be able ‘self-love’ in order to avoid destructive behavior.
Dr. Andie starts each chapter with a letter to her daughter, Aly. The letters are written at each stage of Aly’s life, from birth to when she was packing to start college. The letters are very moving and reflect Dr. Andie’s internal struggles on how best to guide Aly through her growing up years and give her the tools to be self-loving.
I think the most important lesson I learned from this book was Dr. Andie’s use of ‘YOU’ when talking of various situations with her daughter. Instead of saying ‘I love the crayon drawing you did in school’ Dr. Andie would ask Aly ‘what do YOU think of the drawing?’, wait for a reply and engage Aly in her own thoughts about the drawing. By turning the ‘I’ to a ‘You’ Dr. Andie removes herself as the one giving approval. Therefore her daughter is not looking outside of herself for approval, she is turning inward and validating her own feelings.
Dr. Andie believes that children who love themselves are “more accepting and compassionate toward others. They appreciate their own talents, make wise decisions, and refrain from hurtful behaviors and relationships”. For Aly this was confirmed when she wrote her college essay and described the lessons in self-love she learned from her mother. The college essay starts off the book and you learn right away the meaning of self-love to a young woman.
I would recommend More Than Saying I Love You: 4 Powerful Steps that Help Children Love Themselves to any parent. The message is so important in today’s society, especially for girls, that loving oneself is the key to standing up for what you believe in and what you are capable of.
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