Dev and I recently had a conversation about how incredibly stupid that bs the head-shrinkers had us buy into was. Remember when they told us as parents to say you aren't a bad girl, you just do naughty things?
HA! She says she knew from day one that was a crock and she was BAD, she knew she was being BAD, she chose to be BAD and it was all she could do not to laugh in my face.
It did not affect her self-esteem or anything else, it made her question my sanity, though, and probably my honesty in regards to other things.
That being said, here are the things I did that DID make a difference to my girls' self-esteem.
Dev still thanks Blondie and I for making her take off school on a bad hair day that she is convinced had we made her go she'd still be trying to live down.
I let them take off for mental-health days. (Now if they had to meet quotas they'd drag their butts in sick as a dog, but they knew it and I always gave them the choice knowing they'd have to meet the requirements.)
When that cute red dress made Ki's butt look bigger than Rhode Island we wouldn't let her go out in public, and I am sure they would thank us if they but knew.
When they tried new looks and didn't quite pull them off I'd let them know they looked cheap- I believe skanky-ho was the exact term.
I always take their side and anyone who ragged on them was the biggest loser ever in the history of the world.
With the blonde when something came up and she had a really, really tough time dealing with it and I would hear it every blessed minute of every blessed day we were in the same vicinity I gave her a designated whine time. Seriously. She could spill her guts and vent her spleen all she wanted but not one minute past time.
We're pretty darn sure that song that has the line "Do you have the time to listen to me whine" was written for her.
I did not fawn all over their work if it was mediocre or shoddy. I don't believe in praising crap cuz it will not breed excellence no matter what the heck the so called experts tell you. Not everyone is the best singer/dancer/athlete/whatever and they shouldn't be told they are. All kids have strengths and weaknesses and if you are forever telling them their weaknesses are good enough they have no incentive to try.
I might be the poster child the experts warn you against becoming, but my kids are healthy, happy and productive and I couldn't ask for more than that. Oh and they don't suffer terribly from lack of self-esteem.