Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem:  A Toolkit for Parents, Teachers and Caregivers

Do you feel confident all the time? Rick Spletter, a licensed psychotherapist for 30 years, knows that no one can feel confident all of the time, but he has seen first hand the impact of low self esteem in his work with therapy clients. As a result, he has dedicated himself to helping people develop more self confidence, with a particular focus on educating parents, teachers, and caregivers on how to instill self confidence in their children.

A number of years ago Rick reflected on what might be a common denominator in all of the depression, anxiety, relationship and other emotional problems that he had worked with in his therapy practice. “It struck me that improving a person’s self-esteem was one of the most important qualities that helped people get better. The more they began to believe in themselves, the more inner strength they had to overcome challenges, and the happier and healthier they became.” Acting on this, he developed a series of workshops to help “head off struggles later in life” by helping parents learn how to interact in more positive ways with their kids. He says, “Anything is possible when you believe in yourself, and that is what we all want for our children.”

“Children are very sensitive to strong reactions from their parents and other authority figures. If these reactions are respectful, honest, and positive, they can help build a strong sense of identity and self confidence in a child. If these reactions are often negative and shaming, a child will grow up with a belief that he has a basic flaw. This self definition inevitably leads to things like acting out behavior, anxiety, very low or very high risk behaviors, becoming very compliant, and other problems. These children also become self-limiting in their lives, believing that many opportunities are not an option for them.”

When asked about the key ingredients to his program, Rick gives two answers:
“First, the process in the workshop is ‘experiential learning’, because just relaying knowledge is not the same as helping ‘lock in’ new behaviors and ‘lock out’ dysfunctional patterns. Second, the focus of each workshop is on developing better heart connections with your children, and on reducing strong negative reactions to your children.” Each workshop provides tools for a parent to use to positively influence their child’s development, and grow closer to their child.

Many people will say they think they are doing a good job as a parent by praising, encouraging, listening and being actively involved. Rick says that all of these are important in developing emotional health. The tools he offers go a step further. “Most of us have good knowledge about caring for our children, but we can unintentionally damage our child’s self esteem when our strong reactions to an event or behavior block access to that knowledge. Patient and healthy responses to our kids, and what to do when we come on too strong, are the main focus of these workshops.”

Rick explained that many parents are rather stunned at how often they are sending negative messages to their kids through facial expressions, and surprised at the amount of negative energy they project onto their children. “Having strong heart connections with our kids is critical in helping them believe in themselves. This heart connection can increase the number of healthy responses to our kids, and can overcome the damage when we come on too strong.”

The experiential learning methods used in the workshops provide a very effective approach to locking in new behaviors, according to Rick. “The exercises I offer are easy to do. I explain each one before we begin, and if you just want to observe a given exercise, you will still get a lot from it. The tools you learn are simple and easy to employ.”

Molly Seeligson said, “I have known Rick for 7 years and worked with him on many school functions while I was the Head at The Fulton School in Rockwall. He presented his “Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem Workshop” twice for our parents and teachers, and the response was very positive. Rick has some unique and refreshing ways to help parents, teachers and caregivers make a real difference in raising confident kids.”

Brad and Alicia Larsen, owners of Galaxy Ranch School in Rockwall said, “We have been good friends with Rick and his wife Kathy for many years. Rick has a very effective and energetic presentation style. You will learn some great tools for kids of all ages. The best testament to his work is the three fine children that he and Kathy have.”

The workshops are offered monthly at Galaxy Ranch School in Rockwall. Each workshop is on the first Thursday of the month from 6:30 pm to 8:15 pm, and the cost is $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Any additional family members are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Babysitting is available at the school for $5 per child ages 2 to 10. Each workshop offers independent ideas and tools, and does not rely upon attendance at the previous workshop.

Workshop Series 2010

April 1 “Discipline: It’s About Showing Your Heart”
May 6 “Perfect Errors: How Mistakes We Make Are Golden Bonding Moments”
June 3 “The Ten Things That Damage Self-Esteem The Most-And How to Avoid Them”
July 1 “The Vital Importance of Protest In Children-And How To Give It Safe Release”
August 6 “The Teenage Years: When Self-Esteem Can Be A Huge Challenge”
September 2 “Respect From Your Child: It Is Earned, Not Granted”
October 7 “Healthy Communication: You Are The One Who Opens Or Closes This Door”
November 4 “Helping Children Deal With Fear and Anger”

You can reach Rick Spletter, LCSW at 214-348-4111, or by email at: spletter@heartmatters.net. His mailing address is: 201 Laurence Drive, PMB #508, Heath, TX, 75032

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