Have a Heart
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Support equal opportunity for boys
In many ways, boys have been socialized to keep their feelings to themselves, even though this is no healthier for them than it is for girls. In particular, many boys are afraid to express positive feelings for fear that it may make them seem too ‘girly.’ We need to help boys shift from this old-fashioned way of thinking, and teach them that friends, siblings, parents, and grandparents will feel good when they share positive feelings and behaviors. What’s more, expressing love, appreciation, and other positive feelings will also help your son. He will feel positive knowing that his expressions of love have brought good feelings to his friends and family.
Self-love is most important
In order to have the emotional capacity to love others, you first need to love yourself. Every child, no matter how confident, can benefit from encouragement to be proud of her accomplishments and feel positive about her strengths. Your child may also need to be reminded that loving yourself means accepting that you are not perfect. When necessary, remind your child that she is still lovable, even if she does not have the exact body, brain, or lifestyle she desires. Help her focus on the positive aspects of herself, so that self-love is easy, rather than a burden. Also, remember to love yourself (despite your imperfections) so your child can see that you really mean it!
Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at www.drsusanbartell.com.