parent by design:

day 20: self-compassion

“Peak performance happens when we feel loved and supported from within.” 
- Amy Leigh Mercree


A lot of parents mistakenly focus on helping their kids to develop self-esteem and self-confidence by telling them how great/ special/ talented they are.

The danger of this approach is that when the child finds out that they aren't the next Mark Zuckerberg or Beyonce, this fragile ego comes crashing down round their ears.

Much better instead to teach your child to take a more realistic and objective approach, to see themselves for who they really are- warts and all- and to acknowledge, accept and appreciate their imperfections.

why is this important? 

Self-compassion encourages you to acknowledge your flaws and limitations, it allows you to look at yourself from a more objective and realistic point of view.  

It's from this starting point that you can actually make changes and improve.

If you can't do this, how can you grow, how can you improve?

In trying to build ego, confidence and esteem, you run the risk of  raising a child who is scared of failing, who won't take risks in case they don't succeed, or who never goes for anything for risk of getting hurt or looking silly.

The very opposite of what's required to be successful.

what you can do instead

Here are some ways that you can help your child to develop their self-compassion.

  • Start from the philosophy that your child is only doing the best they can with the resources at their disposal (so are you), accept that fully. This will help you to be 'nicer' to them.
  • Be nicer to yourself, your child picks up a lot of their behaviour from you. 
  • Be careful with punishments- kids learn to associate treating themselves harshly when they do wrong. Instead follow our thoughts on how to criticise from day 20.
  • Character strengths: our first port of call praise and criticism is character strengths. It's such a positive lens. What strengths could your child use or what strengths could they improve to get a better outcome?

an activity to help your kids

We've created a fun activity that will teach your child about self-compassion and help them to accept themselves for who they are.

You might want to do it too, being nicer to yourself is no bad thing!