Real stick figure family

“Be Instead of Brag” is an article in Brain, Child Magazine, written by Elizabeth Richardson Rau, that supports what we believe at Parenting – The Biggest Job: self-esteem and self-worth must be earned; we cannot give it to our kids. Nor can we take our kids’ accomplishments and make them part of our self-worth!

Rau sees one of those popular stick figure families, each person depicted with their own interest, on the back of a car and starts to ponder whether her only bumper sticker, saying “Pay It Forward,” is enough? Should she be touting the successes of her teenaged son on her car? And where would she find said bumper sticker that depicted his particular interests and attributes (smelly room; F in English)?

Rau goes on to say, “Raising children, particularly teenagers, is a tricky business. Parenting is tough enough without the added pressure of competing with those who publicly proclaim to be doing it better than we are. I wonder when our children’s accomplishments became the source of our own self-esteem?”

In our latest webinar on Priority #6: Allow Obstacles to Become Opportunities, we discussed the value of allowing our kids to struggle and figure out things for themselves.  (If you missed the webinar, you can hear it here: We talked about the importance of what kids learn about themselves when they have to overcome struggles, disappointments, and be held accountable for wrong choices. These things contribute not only to their self-knowledge – “Hey! I can really do this!” – but also to their confidence and self-worth.

“With drug use, suicides, and mental health struggles in the adolescent population at epidemic levels, we must ask ourselves, as parents, if we should be advertising our kids differently, if at all,” says Rau. “Teaching children to value themselves for their successes and be real about their struggles might be healthier than advertising partial truths,” she adds.  

You can find the entire article at  I hope you’ll take the time to read this uplifting and somewhat humorous article; it’s a good one!