Unseen children (revisited)

When I wrote about unseen children (see here – and here) I wrote that I feared that a child might get “addicted” to attention. As I continued to read Your Competent Child, by Jesper Juul, I came to the following passage:

Our self-esteem needs nurturing and mainly grows from two nourishments: When at least one of the important people in our lives “see” and accept us as we are, and when we feel that we are valuable to other people exactly the way we are. (My translation.)

In the preceding paragraph he explained the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence, saying that self-confidence isn’t a psychological problem, but a “practical-pedagogical problem that can be solved with impartial feedback.” Self-esteem, however, is psychological and for the self-esteem to grow, “right” attention is important.

He gives an example with a child that is about to go down a slide, shouting to her mother to look at her. Parents are apt to either encourage their children in such situations, or to express their worry that the children might hurt themselves. Juul writes that if you want to nurture the self-esteem of your child, you only need to make it clear to the child that you are watching him or her going down the slide. You can also say something to give your child words for what he or she is experiencing: “It looks fun!” Juul writes that what’s important is to “see” and to give the child words for their inner experiences.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on July 15, 2002. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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