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A Dose of Self –Esteem to Lower the Achievement Gap

Posted on Posted in Blog, hello-dear, Parenting's Not Easy, School Me on Research

A Dose of Self –Esteem to Lower the Achievement Gap


Can anyone relate to the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It? In the movie they highlight the many directions working moms are pulled.  Best line in the film for me: A mom’s mind is like “the control tower of O’Hare airport”. And -I -mean. After finding my robe and bumping around in the dark for something to warm my feet, and a cup of coffee I start plotting out who needs what, when, where and how:
  • Do we have bread for sandwiches?
  • Do we have meat for sandwiches?
  • Did I ask to leave early on Wednesday for the kid’s doctor’s appointments?
  • Is today meatloaf day?
  • Did I wash the gym clothes for kids?
  • Do the kids have ANYTHING green for ‘green’ day at school?
  • What will we eat..Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, ….?
  • Do I have papers graded for class?
  • Haircuts and beauty shop time, when will we fit that in?
A parent’s to-do list can reach circuit overload by Tuesday! There is no doubt that the day to day shuffling of being the ‘always on-time’ employee, ‘active parent’ at home AND at school can make the little, but oh so important things run right past you. So, I am determined to begin this week conscious of giving a little more hugs and kisses.
Building self-esteem with love and affection is important.  In fact, it can be just as, if not more than, the ‘right’ academic portfolio.  A recent study by Stanford confirmed these findings. Researchers saw improvement in the ways Latino students adapted to stress, in the form of identity issues or a sense of belonging at school when they gave them specifically timed affirmation exercises. Most significantly they saw a change in the achievement gap. Furthermore, affirmations served to counteract feelings of stereotype threat.
There are many ways to encourage children having a healthy self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy. Research shows that nurturing and promoting self-esteem can turn little people, into big people who:
  • Are motivated to take care of themselves
  • Persistent in their striving towards the fulfillment of personal goals and aspirations
It won’t be easy to remember to slow down.  Not because I don’t love my children, but because looping control tower-like commands is a definite habit. For me control-tower is parent survival mode. Who wants to be the employee that doesn't have the PowerPoint ready for the meeting or the parent who sent their child to school in a uniform on “dress down day’! – the shame! But, I will take my eyes off ‘Brown Control Tower”, not to crash and burn.  But to slow down and see the sweetness of a kindergartner who writes and receives ‘I love you notes’, a tween who is embarrassed by anything we do as a family in public and a pre-schooler who seeks me out after I've been in my office working all day to tell me ‘I want to give you a hug mommy while you type your ‘dish-er-ta-shun’.

How do you promote self-esteem with your kids at home?



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