The Quickest, most Effective way to increase your Child’s Self-Esteem

The quickest, most effective way to increase your child’s self-esteem?



If you find what your child is proud of and encourage that, it will help them navigate through life with higher self-esteem and self-confidence.  Those qualities will make them bully proof and also make them strive for greater things in life.

Children are not necessarily proud of things they’re good at.  You may have a son who’s brilliant at math but what he’s really proud of is his ability to make people laugh (that was my son).

I worked with teens who had very little to be proud of yet when I found something that I could see they were proud of, that instantly become my #1.  Once they were given permission to not be good in academics, but to be great at drawing or whatever, everything else fell into place.  Their grades improved right along with their self-esteem.

Pride is a funny thing.  Sometimes you have to work to encourage and nurture it in your children.  Don’t focus on what’s important to you, but rather what’s important to them.  It may be the same thing, but maybe not.

All the other stuff like school, chores, etc. are important too, but they’re not everything.

Think about this, what is your child proud of, and are you complimenting and encouraging them with this?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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Parents: How to Transition to the Teen Years … Part 1


The teen years are notoriously the most difficult to parent for good reason, they’re challenging. It’s almost like having a toddler again except they drive cars, party, have sex and rarely listen to anything you say. Okay, so they’re not exactly like toddlers, but they are both challenging age groups as they are both transitional ages:

  • Toddlers are turning from babies to children and finding their voices.
  • Teens are turning from children to teens plus they have that added bonus of raging hormones.

Did I breeze through my kids’ teen years? Pretty much. Had the odd “attitude” issues but they were few and far between. My kids didn’t really have a chance with me though as I’d had so much practice mentoring troubled teens beforehand. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it sure helps.

The parents I talk to who are the most upset are the ones with teenagers. They’re not just disappointed in how their sons and daughters are acting, but they’re scared. They’re scared for their teens’ safety, welfare and scared of losing them forever. They’re also scared that they messed them up.

I’ve coached families through some of the worst problems you could imagine and some who just want help with the basic stuff. The one thing all these parents have in common is their lack of empathy for what their teenagers are going through.They seem completely oblivious to all the changes, social pressures and urges their teens are dealing with which is odd considering they’ve done it themselves.

Basically being a teenager is emotional, painful, fun, confusing, conflicting, frustrating, etc., etc. You’re stuck between 2 worlds: Childhood & Adulthood. You tend to act like an adult when out in the world with strangers yet go home and have a tantrum with your parents because they treat you like a child. So you act like one.

So as a parent it makes sense to shift the way you treat them BEFORE they act out. In other words, hold them to a higher standard of behaviour now that they’re teenagers than you did when they were children.

This teenage transition happens anywhere between 12-14 for girls and 14-16 for boys. That’s a generalization but has been my observation. It happens when the hormones hit.

I’ve studied the effects of hormones on the brain and just found it more confusing than clarifying. But basically hormones are crazy drugs. They cause mood swings, rage, sexual desire, lack of foresight, etc., etc.

Okay, so that’s what’s going on with teenagers but how do you parent them you’re asking? This is where it gets kinda vague and confusing as they’re all so different. You have to know when to go in with advice and when to back off and give them space. That’s why I don’t have a “4 Week Parenting Program” for Teenagers. They’re all so different.

But here are some very basic rules for parenting teenagers. First of all I’ll list what NOT to do:

  • don’t lecture
  • don’t set curfews
  • don’t yell
  • don’t roll your eyes
  • don’t expect too much from them
  • don’t react to their outbursts
  • don’t stick around for a battle
  • don’t tell them what they need, want or should do
  • don’t expect respect unless you give it … and even then … as above, don’t expect too much
  • don’t EVER look disappointed in them … EVER!!!

Here are some do’s:

  • do listen
  • do stay calm
  • do offer options (sort of like advice but a bit milder, like a multiple choice)
  • do negotiate rules
  • do praise often
  • do forgive their mistakes
  • do show your pride in them (find something to be proud of no matter how they’re acting)

I’ve worked with so many families going through horrible stuff and the biggest battle is always convincing the parents to let go of what their teenagers have done wrong. They absolutely have to give their teenagers a fresh start. That doesn’t mean their teens aren’t expected to be accountable and have repercussions for their mistakes. But you have to treat them as if they’re good, kind, wonderful people so they have something positive to live up to. If you treat them as if their rotten troubled teens then that’s what they’ll be. I guarantee you that.

You are so much more important in your teen’s life than you can imagine. That’s great news as it means you have more influence than you realize. Teens who have parents they respect and who respect them don’t go astray.

Be your teen’s safe place to land. If you are calm, strong, loving and always a great listener, I guarantee you will have more influence over your teen’s choices than you ever thought possible.

Forget about give & take, being right, and fairness. Toss out all those expectations and your life with your teenager will be so much easier.

Don’t worry, one day they’ll have self-absorbed teenagers of their own and you can just sit back and watch the show with a smile on your face :).

– Lisa Bunnage

Click here for Part 2

Spanking vs. Yelling

Which is worse, Spanking or Yelling at your kids?

Obviously neither is good but I’d have to say yelling is worse, and here’s why.  When you spank a child it’s usually a one-off and there’s guilt involved.  When you yell at a child it can go on for ages and there’s often no guilt involved.  There’s that justification that “it’s only words”.

We all know by now, thanks to all the bullying suicides caused by “just words”, that words hurt more than anything.  While you’re yelling it’s usually not kind words like, “I LOVE YOU!!!”  “I THINK YOU’RE GREAT!!!” … you get the idea.

So try to keep both to a minimum and aim to eliminate them altogether.  Both are a sign of loss of control.  If you are in control as a parent, there is no need to yell.

Behaviour driven by anger is never a good thing.

To get help learning how to be a good leader for your children, check out my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” when you sign up for my Newsletter.

Happy Parenting,

Lisa Bunnage