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parenting advice


Top Three Lessons You Learn as a Mom

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Over the course of my career as a portrait painter of children, I've interviewed the moms I work with about the greatest lessons they've learned as parents. Some are new moms, some are on their third child, but all have the same desires and hopes for their kids. They all strive to be great moms every day. 


1. Being a mom isn't a competitive sport. 

Anyone up for a little "mom-petition?" We all know the mom who seems perfect at everything and manages to look great doing it. But there's no perfect way to be a mom, and every child has different needs. One mom says to embrace help when it's offered so you can slow down and enjoy every moment with your kids.


2. Give your kids the best of you. 

It's important to take some "me" time. Whether it's a tennis lesson, an hour with a good book, or date night with your husband, happy moms make for happy kids and husbands. You owe it to yourself and your kids to be at the top of your game.


3. Stop and enjoy as many moments as you can with them. 

One mom told me how sometimes her kids' thoughts and words can be so powerful, and in that moment she is truly grateful for the precious gifts God gave her. If you're constantly busy or distracted, you'll miss those moments. Everyone says it but they grow up too fast. Savor it. 


What's the greatest lesson you've learned as a mom? How has it affect your relationship with your child?



What Effects Your Child's Self Esteem and What You Can Do About it


My good friend Danielle is Psychology Intern at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin. She’s about to graduate with her P.h.D in Clinical Psychology at Baylor University (whoop whoop!)


She’s seriously one of the smartest, most capable people I know:)


Danielle's been working with kids in therapy for the past year, helping them deal with trauma, depression, anxiety, and other issues. I asked her at what age kids begin to develop a sense of their self-worth, either positive or negative. 


I'm interested because it's my mission to help kids feel loved and valued for who they truly are. 


“Young children have relatively high self-esteem and overly positive outlooks about themselves, which gradually declines over the course of childhood,” Danielle says.


This makes a lot of sense, because as we grow we start comparing ourselves to others. Kids can be really mean, and it has lasting affects on how we think about ourselves. 


Self esteem continues to decline, she says, as kids reach adolescence, and things like body issues, stressful school situations, and complex social interactions come into play (Hello, Middle School.)


I think we’ve all had experiences as kids where we’ve felt pressure to fit in and be liked. I've written about my own struggle to feel good about myself, and it's why I'm so passionate about my mission. 


“That’s why childhood and early adolescence is such an important time for intervention!,” says Danielle.


And by intervention, she means parents helping their kids develop that positive sense of their own worth and value. 


One of the things she advices parents and kids not to do is “stuff’ their emotions.


Another important thing for parents to do is to teach their kids how to problem solve. That means letting them figure things out on their own. 


Danielle says it’s really important to let your kids fail, because that’s how they learn to deal with emotions like sadness and frustration.


She’s also sure to praise the parents for coming to therapy, because it’s not easy to admit when you need help. And for parents seeking therapy for their kids, Danielle encourages them to be involved in the treatment as well, because they learn valuable skills.


Here’s a few helpful links if you’d like more information:

The Development of Self-Esteem


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