Alright, it’s time to take a little quiz and evaluate your parenting skills. Your child, while in your care, is developing the foundation of self-esteem he will have throughout his life. Most of his “cues” come from you. So how well are you doing? Answer the questions below, and be honest. Nobody is checking your responses, and only you are grading yourself.
1. When my child first enters the room, I usually:
a) Smile brightly and speak in pleasant tones.
b) Look up slightly from my work to see who it is.
c) Scowl and inquire whether he’s cleaned his room or done his homework.
2. When my child brings home an art project to show me, I usually:
a) Hang it proudly in a prominent location.
b) Say “Wow, I like it,” and later toss it in the trash.
c) Make a comment like, “Why didn’t you stay in the lines on this part?”
3. If I see my child doing something good, I:
a) Make a point to let her know I noticed, and I’m proud of her.
b) Mention it if I remember.
c) I don’t often acknowledge behaviors unless they’re bad.
4. If my child is performing with her class in a school assembly, I:
a) Wouldn’t miss it for the world.
b) Will try to make it if I don’t have other things going on.
c) Am more likely than not to miss it.
5. If I’m being completely honest, I probably make _____ positive comments about my child, in his presence, each day.
a) Three or more.
b) Maybe one on a good day.
c) Some days go by without my saying anything specifically positive about my child.
6. If my child’s sport team loses a game, I:
a) Hug him and point out the great things he did in the game.
b) Say, “Better luck next time. We all lose once in a while.”
c) Spend the drive home talking about the mistakes he and his teammates made which probably affected the outcome.
7. If my child gets poor grades on a report card, I:
a) Tell her that she is capable of much better work, and together create a strict plan to improve the situation.
b) Express my disappointment, telling her she’d better bring up her grades by next term.
c) Scold her harshly, using generalizations like, “You always do this,” or “You never listen to me,” “You’re lazy and incompetent,” etc.
8. The last time I hugged my child was:
a) Earlier today.
b) Several days ago.
c) I’m not sure I remember exactly when.
Now, give yourself five points for every HONEST “a.” Two points for every “b.” And zero points for every “c.”
31 – 40 Good Job! You are doing things that will positively shape your child’s self-esteem. Keep up the good work.
16 – 30 There’s room for improvement here. Remember that a child primarily develops the beginnings of self-esteem from the way he perceives that his parents feel about him. If a child consistently receives non-verbal messages that his parents are displeased, irritated, or just plain too busy to care about him, it leaves a lasting negative impact. You need not “blow smoke” or be phony, but look for appropriate opportunities to express your love and approval.
0 – 16 Your child may be battling feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. As the parent, you teach your child what to feel about herself. These impressions can last a lifetime. Please make a better effort to show, with your attitude and actions, that you are your child’s biggest fan. It’s never too late to start developing a better relationship.