Self-respect not to be confused with self-esteem (part 1)

The following is my attempt to summarise the thought provoking public lecture that Toni Noble gave last Wednesday evening at St Peters College. It will take at least 2 blogs. The information I believe is appropriate for any one who relates to children. I hope you enjoy.

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The lecture was opened with a question – “True or false: kids who bully other kids have a low self esteem?” I have to admit that I was surprised to learn ‘false’. Often bully’s have an inflated view of self worth.

The second true or false question was “Do young people with a high self-esteem perform better academically?” The answer to that was also false and Toni mentioned that this illustrates the failure of the self esteem movement.

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Toni defined self-esteem as a person’s self perception and evaluation which is not necessarily reality.  It is conditional, self defeating and ultimately destructive.

In 1995 Seligman found that bolstering self-esteem actually erodes a persons sense of worth because it emphasizes how ones ‘feels’ rather than what ones ‘does’ and that may lead to being vulnerable to depression. For example, a child may feel they are brilliant at sport, but in reality they may be average.  When the realisation comes that they are not brilliant, it can be difficult to process.

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Whereas self respect is “an attitude of self-acceptance and approval for your own character and conduct.  Having self-respect means you are more likely to be successful and happy and earn the respect of others.” (Lecture notes by Toni Noble – Developing your self-respect)

At this stage, there is very little research for self-respect and children.

You can’t have too much self respect, but you can have too much self-esteem.

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It worked!

For those of you who read my post on Monday, you will appreciate my joy at the fact that, my 8 year old has gone to bed the last 3 nights with no issues!

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In response to my last post on the upstairs and downstairs of the brain I had 2 conversations where people asked me about the ‘metaphorical stairway’. I do not pretend to be an expert on the topic and so am still thinking it through! I am wondering if a lot of the building of the staircase happens within relationships and talking things through.

This was further backed up for me tonight in a lecture I attended by Toni Noble.  (She is an Australian who has written a brilliant resiliency program called ‘Bounce Back’. Tomorrow I will write a specific blog that summarises what I heard – it looked at the topic of self-respect, not to be confused with self-esteem.)

In passing, Toni mentioned the biggest in-school research project completed by Hattie (2009) found that the quality of relationship between the teacher and student is the key to learning! Wow!

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Back to building the staircase, I wonder if the amount of time one has to spend and the quality of relationship with the child is part of helping them build?

Today, on day 2 of my sons chart we had a conversation about the upstairs and downstairs of the brain. I told him that I believed he was choosing to come out of bed and that he needed to make the connection between his desire to come out and the knowledge of not to! Kids amaze me – he just looked at me and said ‘yes Mum, I get it.’

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Don’t you just love them!