Raising our children with a sense of self worth…how do we do this? In this 2-part episode this question as well as many others will be asked.
In this episode of This Fat Girl Life podcast, I am joined by mother and business owner Jackie Lujan. We are discussing the importance of imparting a sense of self worth in young children. Jackie is the mother of 3 young children, so she speaks from the point of view of a mother that wants her children to know who they are. Jackie discussing how important it is for her to impart faith in her children. We also discuss different ways to give your young children a sense of self and purpose.
In Part 2, I am joined by educator and mother Megan Nichols. Megan is not only an elementary school teacher, but she is raising a middle school age child and a young adult. Megan was able to give a different perspective of the topic of self worth in children, because she sees such a wide age range.
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Hello everybody and welcome to This Fat Girl Life the podcast. I am your host, Kimberlee. Tonight we are going to be discussing raising your children with a sense of self-worth. Tonight we are joined by a very good friend of mine, Jackie Lujan. Hi Jackie! How are you tonight?
Hi! How are you?
I am doing well. Thank you so much for being here with us. Why don’t you tell our viewers a little bit about yourself.
Yes, my name is Jackie. I am a full-time everything. I am a full-time mom, I have three beautiful children, I daughter named Naielee, she is 7 years old. I have a son, his name is Jedadiah, he is two years old. Then I have my new baby, his name is Ezra, and he is 8 months old. So, I got my hands full. I am a wife. I’m starting a new business called The Lighthouse Drop-In Daycare Center and that’s pretty much what my life has been consisting of, just building that up and making it available for the South East community of Colorado Springs. And yeah, it’s just a little bit about me.
Very nice. Well and obviously you work with children, you have children, so are-have you noticed anything as far as like, especially with your oldest, Naielee, as for as like self-worth. Are you noticing anything there with her development, as far as that is concerned?
Yeah, so when it comes to my daughter, it’s funny that you mention that, she was really gonna be the main topic of my discussion tonight just because she is older and stuff, just because it gives me a little bit more information on that but yeah. So as far as my daughter goes, she’s seven years old. And I’ve again, learned to try to teach her at such a young age if you don’t mind holding on for just a second.
You are fine. So while she is stepping away, we are going to be discussing how Jackie notices self-esteem with in her children but also ways that you can instill self-esteem and self-worth within your children, especially at that really young age.
You know, that is such an impressionable age, so that’s when we need to start-is when they are young.
So, yeah, so going back to that with my daughter. How do I instill self-worth into her? Well, honestly, to start with I mean everything that I do and teach my kids comes from biblical values and beliefs. I like to say that if we don’t teach them then the world will. And so that’s always been kind of the foundation for me. Number one is just really consistently speaking life to my children. Speaking like words of affirmation. That was the first thing that came to my mind you know, as I was kind of reflecting on how it is that I build my daughter up. You know, what are this things that are good little habits have built over the years? And one of those things is words of affirmation. You know, I believe that words have very powerful, they are very powerful. And I also believe that the tongue has power to speak life or death into really any circumstance. Even into anyone’s life. So I take that very, very seriously. And that’s literally been the foundation for me as their mother, in building my children up with self-worth.
And as you are saying that, the first thing that came to mind when you were saying that is from the movie The Help. I don’t know if you have seen it or not, but there is a scene where she has the little girl and she’s teaching this little girl every day “You are strong, You are beautiful, You are important. And everyday those words were spoke to her, so that was one of the first things she heard. I think that is so important. Because the words that we do say have an impact. The words that we hear have an impact. You know, and even subconsciously, that what we are going to go back to.
Exactly, they do. And it’s good to make sure that you have the foundation young…at a young, young age. If you have little ones, you know, I know that with you-your baby is older. But I don’t believe that there is ever a time limit for you to speak those things to your children. But for those moms out there that have children who are young, start now. Start engraving those words on their heart. You know, sharpening them up, washing their feet with the word of God, to ensure that as they get older they will need depart from it. You know, that one of my favorite scriptures. Proverbs 22:6. Train your children up in the way they should go, and when they get older they won’t turn from it. So,
I encourage my moms to really, really just familiarize yourself with scripture and just begin to apply it to your children in a way that works best for you guys.
I absolutely love that. Now one thing that I actually was researching and I have seen this so many different ways, is you know, our children mirror what we do. And so, one thing that I’ve noticed is, you know, as a mother, as a public figure, I have to actually have confidence within myself. It can’t be fake. You cannot fake it til you make it. It has to be genuine. The confidence in knowing my own worth before I can exude that to anybody else.
Our children see that. So, if you do not have that confidence and that self-worth and you do not truly love yourself, your children are going to follow the example that you set.
Yep, absolutely. You are correct, and I’ve began to start learning that the older she got, when they’re little they watch, but I don’t that that at that time they can really grasp what their environment is like or just watching certain things. Like, oh my mom’s just cleaning, there’s nothing sticking there. But as my daughter has gotten older now, I have come to realize that I have to be very mindful of what you do. You have to exhibit what you speak, and I know that that’s a challenging one. I’m sure we are all familiarized with that old saying “Do as I say, not as I do”. And I believe that as parents our children are, as parents we are our children’s greatest influencers. And what we display to our kids can have a huge impact o their character, their self-worth. It can determine who they become as adults. And so how do we do that? For me personally, because I am a woman of faith, I love to display ad involve my children in my spiritual walk. You know, displaying my prayer life to them, and also including them in my prayer time as well. You know showing them love, affection, and creating that connection with them. An intimate connection with them to ensure that they do know the love of Christ. Because I believe that those are core values. Again, their character and who they will become in the future.
100%. And kind of to touch on what you were saying is kind of like on of my other
points that we need to show that unconditional love. I remember when I was young, my mother used to always tell me when she was mad at me “I don’t like you right now, but I always love you.” And those are words that I have repeated to my daughter as well. I don’t like what you are doing in that moment, but that love will never go away.
Right, and I think that sometimes parents can be a little hard on themselves too over time. because I mean, let’s be real. Kids are a lot of work, and you know, they are ME ME ME ME ME ME ME until forever. And hopefully, until they grow up. Yeah, and it could be draining and I know that for some parents it can definitely cause some, you know, internal issues. I’ve seen a lot of parents try to figure out life, falling into this pit of depression and early moms “What do I do”. It’s not like babies come with manuals. They just show up and you’re like here you go…this is how you do it. Nowadays, you literally just have to be hands on and figure it out yourself, and the internet’s become my best friend, over time. Because at least, you know, I can look up tips and tricks. And in my prayer life, I ask God for a lot of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and how to raise them up. I’ve tried praying for self-control and patience. What is love? Love is patient, love is kind. And applying those scriptures even to myself. Even though we are building a generation, I can’t instill self-worth, I can’t pour out what I don’t contain. So it’s very very important for moms to know that even if you just don’t get it. Even if you are like “I’m new to this…I don’t know that I’m doing” it is all good because I am learning and I’m going to continue to learn. Because that can show self-care and that can turn into someone else’s self-worth. Oh, girl, that’s good!
Oh my gosh, I so love that! That kind of points to my next thing. You know that making mistakes, because we all do it. We are all fallible. Especially when our children make mistakes, it’s a matter of not shaming them. They’ve got to know that it’s okay to fail.
Because that’s where part of that work comes from as well.
Right, it does. I think that first of it’s acknowledging the failure and then coming into that mom mode and sometimes we are called to be their strength when they are weak. In those areas where they are weakest, we have to be strong, And that it’s okay and it’s going to happen. So we build up those spiritual muscles and just encourage yourself. Like “I can show you how to do it, you’re going to be able to do it as you get older and trust me girl, you’re going to be your cheerleader, you going to have it all together”. If we can do this and tackle this now, I guarantee you that this is going to be a beautiful characteristic of yours. And so just embracing the failure but always reverting it back. Again, going back to the power of your words and speaking those affirmations. For example, my daughter came home with this math test and she had a low grade, which is very abnormal for her because she’s really good at math. But for some reason, this one particular test, she just wasn’t getting it. And I sat with her and I said “Okay baby, it looks like this one was a little low, What happened?” And she just kinda looked at me with disappointment and she was like “I know, I’m usually good” and it was like she was trying to prove herself to me but she failed to be all that she could be in that moment and I had to embrace it and tell her that it’s ok. It was a low grade on this one but look at all the other ones that you take. You kill it, you got it. It’s just having that open door for her to be vulnerable with me, but at the same time replace it with “I back you up and I love you”. So, that’s just kind of an example of how I display it to my baby.
Exactly, and that actually goes to where my next thought was. That you are reminding them of those past accomplishments and celebrating those things. Celebrating even those little moments, that to us may seem like not that big of a deal, but to our children they are huge. So being able to celebrate and acknowledge those, no matter how small, instills that sense of confidence in them, and that is where their worth is going to come from.
It’s true and those words are already building her self-worth for now, and as she gets older and life happens to her, she is already going to know her identity in Christ, and I believe that if she understands that, when she gets older she is going to know that she is enough. She is enough. And I want this next generation to believe YOU ARE ENOUGH. You don’t need to meet this unconditional love expectation. Who is Christ, He is love. You know, love is unconditional, not conditional. So, I believe those are solid foundations that we can establish now, and that’s going to sustain her though her storms. To diligently stand on those scriptures. So I totally totally believe in the power of speaking good things to your children. I believe that developing a healthy language at this age is going to be life to them. Because by communicating with that, it is setting her up for her future. By stimulating her mind with good things, then I believe that those good things will impact her steps.
That’s good. Now obviously, Naielle especially, she has school. Do your kids have chores?
Yes they do. I don’t necessarily have right now, like set chores for her. I mean sometimes if I feel like it I might try something new. But what I can say, is that chores build a Childs belonging and a self-worth in a sense. I am a woman that loves a clean home. I brings me all the peace in the world when my house is clean and warm and welcoming. So with my older ones, I will assign them little tasks, like taking toilet paper to the bathroom or picking up toys. For me, it’s kinda like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. It makes my life easier and it builds character up n them as well because if gives them that sense of responsibility like they belong…I’m a part of this family too.
There’s a sense of pride in a job well done. And theres a big difference between being proud for doing something and being prideful. So, I think that it helps develop that sense of pride in that job well done.
Yep, exactly. And so how do you do it? I just want to know how to you ended up building that up in your daughters or your kids.
Well, as you know, both my daughters are grown. I have my daughter Frankie and my step-daughter Tori. So I really didn’t have too much influence at all with Tori because her father and I married when she was pretty much grown. So I haven’t had that kind of an influence. But, I remember when Frankie was little, we would have the laundry basket in the living room that all the toys went in. And things like that, you know, she had that job that she had to do. Unfortunately, during a lot of her teen years and stuff, because of choices that I made in my past, I was not present and I hate that. I really do. But I am blessed and I find comfort in the fact that I know she lived with my mother, and my aunt, and my sister. And I know that they instilled so much into her. And she had grown into a wonderful young lady. She’s a really good mom. I watch her with my grandson and I’m just in awe. So, I know that they did a good job, I can honestly say that I wasn’t present for a lot of it though due to the choices that I made.
Yeah, absolutely, and I think that that’s another good point to make is that again, going back to-how does it say-it takes a tribe to raise a kid?
It takes a village.
It takes a tribe, it take s a village, it takes an army…it takes a lot of people. And so, again, the Bible says, there a scripture in Ecclesiastes that says where one is weak the other is strong just like I said earlier, and I take that in not just in a spouse way but I take that into consideration for literally all my relationships. And so that’s a prime example of how important it is to ensure that your children are being raised in a good environment with a lot of support. You know, because when Kim isn’t up to feeling it, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I don’t want to wake up and be like the super hero mom, but I have other people who I can lean on to and rely on who can speak life into my kids, you know. That’s another reason why I want to open up that daycare. I want to be able to say, like, when mom isn’t feeling it, when dad doesn’t know how to speak life into their children, it’s ok because not only are we providing a service but we’re also combining biblical values and beliefs into one culture. So we can pick up that lack, you know that slack. We can make sure that we’ll take care of your children, we’ll speak life into them, we’ll throw scriptures them, we’ll even teach them and train them up in the way of God rather than the ways of this world. So I totally support you in that. I think that it’s super super important to ensure that you’re mindful of your support system.
Well, and I find myself doing it with my grandson. You know, he’s only 7 months old, but I still, you know, even when I baby sit him. And even when he’s eating breakfast, it’s like oh your doing so good, you’re being such a big boy, you’re drinking from a cup, you know. And even though I know he doesn’t understand the words I’m saying, he has no clue. All he hears is Whah Whah Whah like Charlie Brown, but I’m still trying to get those words into him. You know, and I find myself doing that now more than ever now that I have studied this, and I’ve gotten the education, I’m realizing how important it really really is. And I think when I wasn’t younger, you know when Frankie was younger, I probably didn’t know that. You know it’s not something, you know at that time I was not a person who knew my worth. So, how am I going to teach my child that when I didn’t have it? And now it’s so important for me to make sure that Kai does.
No, and see, that’s where I was going back to, self-care can eventually turn into someone else’s self-worth. Because, I’m gonna tell you, I barely gave my life up, well I would say when my daughter was born I re-dedicated my life to Christ and in the sense of doing so, again, I didn’t know how to raise her. I just knew that God was my only option. You know, that was my why. She was my why. You know, and over time, over the course of her life I have learned, and then I have failed, then I learned some more. It’s just a dance. It’s going back and forth. I have had to continually step in faith, and I had to continuously pray over myself and ask God for the things that I knew were going to fill her up and set her up to be the woman that He’s destined. Not only me to be, but her to be. And that’s why it so important to ensure that you’re taking that time to yourself, reflecting, asking God to reveal things that are not of Him. You know, do I battle with anger? Do I battle with hate? Do I battle with self-condemnation? Help? And I have to start off with “God, can You teach me how to remove those things, like revert my words, my negative words, and turn them into positive words?” How do you do that? It took time, but you know what, I’ve read a lot, I’ve read my Word, I’ve read other perspectives in different books. I had to be built up first in order for me to build her up. And so, she’s kinda like my little guinea pig. She’s like my little one that went through the motions with her momma, she went through the journey for me and for her. But thank God for that because I’m raising a very sold strong woman of God. A powerhouse, a prayer warrior. At this age, it’s so cool to just see them grow, because you see their spiritual gifts. And you pray for that. And I’m going to tell that to those mothers out there. Observe your kids, watch what they say and how they act. How they respond to other children. Their strengths. And build up on them, encourage those strengths. Because the more that you do, the more they are going to grow as they get older. And they are going to realize..my daughter can see a homeless man/woman and they melt her heart. As her momma, I am here to sharpen her. Iron sharpens iron. So I encourage mothers to identify those things and really start praying over those things and asking God to show you how to sharpen your children up in their spiritual gifts.
Well, and even if you look at it from a non-spiritual aspect, it’s a matter of identifying those things in your child and just encouraging it and building upon it. You know, you can do that from any perspective. There’s just so much that we can do for our children. The only other thing, I saw this online today and I absolutely loved it, and I wished I had done it more. Involving our children in decisions. Like, what are we making for dinner this week, and let them decide one night what your are having. Because they take ownership of that. And they feel like it’s inclusive for them.
I also believe that children love order. And I believe that there is order in the home. You have to respect your children, just like they respect you. Now obviously there’s a line, there, because I’m not going to have my children talk to me crazy, you know, but I want to be able to respect her with my tone of voice. Again, word selection and what we do with that in our home, and I think that ties into that too. You know, what do you want to eat? And of course she’s like “I want ramen noodles”…
I don’t know, I found some amazing recipes for ramen with like vegetables and everything…I actually want to make it.
I could just see her asking “What is this?”
I think that is cool too. Also, I was going to say that another way to implement is just asking what they want to do and just listen.
Well, I am so glad that we got to have this time together. I have one last question for you…what do you love most about yourself?
One thing that I love about myself is my personality. I think that my personality is natural for me. You know, I can be serious, but I love to make people laugh, I love to make people feel good. And I can turn any icky situation into something good. I don’t know how, but I’m already ahead of the game, trying to plot it in my brain while they talking. But that’s one thing that I do really love about myself is my personality.
You know, I’m going to be completely honest, that is one of the first things that drew me to you. When we first met in class, that was one of the first things I noticed about you, so I love that about you too!
Again, thank you so much for joining me tonight. Just as a preparation for next week, we will be continuing this conversation with my sister Megan Nichols. She actually had teenage daughters and is a school teacher, so she will have a different perspective. So make sure to join me here next week.
Welcome to This Fat Girl Life Blog podcast, a podcast about self worth loving yourself and body image. And today’s episode, I am speaking with my sister, Megan Nichols, who is also a mother and educator, we’re going to be continuing last week’s conversation about raising your children with a sense of self worth. Only today, we’re going to focus a little bit more on not only an in school aspect of it, but dealing with teenagers with that. Megan, thank you so much for joining me. I’m so glad to have you here with us. So why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
So my name is Megan Nichols. I’ve been married for 20 years this year, 21. This year, we have two kids. They’re both older children. I have been teaching third grade for four years now. I’m 41. That’s pretty much.
So let’s start with the school age aspect. Do you see issues even with third graders of body image or your lack of self worth issues,
there’s more than body image like a lot of self esteem and self worth. I do see that quite often. I see a lot of kids that are definitely like, call them my ears are very, they don’t think they are good enough. They don’t think they can do it. And they always are kind of down on themselves. The only thing that I can do to combat that is I can speak life into them as what I feel like I’m doing, tell them they are good enough and make I don’t want to hear them say that anymore. That unless they have something positive to say. They need to not say it. So positive talk, definitely good. But every school also has programs that they they start where they start to instill suffering regulation and self esteem into even kindergarteners.
So is that a relatively new aspect of education?
Well, it’s been about seven years since I’ve, I’ve known that it started in our school,
because I know they did not have that kind of stuff when I was in school
No, they didn’t have that when we were in school, but and they didn’t have it when the older two were in, in elementary school. But, uh, once Rylan started going in, like they definitely started having that kind of stuff, where they teach them how to deal with conflict in school, they teach them how to deal with how to kind of regulate themselves and help them stay through positions and situations.
I think that’s amazing. I think that’s something that’s definitely needed and needs to be more publicized. Because I’m not sure how many people really know those programs even exist. All you know, personally, I don’t have a child in school. So I had no clue programs like that even existed at this point. Right?
Well, and there are other things that teachers do like, the other day, just for fun, I decided to write on each one of my kids desk, so that when they walked in, it was like, Oh, wow. And so I put three things on their desk, you are important, you are amazing. You are smart night, and I put that on each one of their desk and they’re like, Can I keep this forever? Like, oh, I’m gonna stay. So now, I know this school year and last school year were very different than what we’ve ever really seen before because of the pandemic were you still able to do things like that, or were program still able to run like that. It’s it’s a program where I mean, everything will be modified, for sure. But when our kids came back in August, granted, it wasn’t like, for very long we start it’s like a 10 week beginning of the year program where we kind of start every year the same way. Teaching them different ways to cope with anger and, you know, their their self regulation tactics like brain games, trying to help them kind of think and move past wherever they are.
Okay, but what about like when it was elearning.
So you can still kind of do those things. It’s just a little more modified, okay, so you can still talk to kids about stuff like you can still have that period of time or you just have a discussion with your kids and see where they’re at and see how they’re, they’re feeling and doing and I mean, you can do that every day. If you want to. You can set aside the last five minutes of the class that you know the last class that you have, and just kind of have a conversation with your kids or schedule meetings. With your kids that you know are having some, some issues at home or the that are struggling with the E learning, set aside time and go to a Google meets with just them, you can do one on ones with them.
So I, obviously that’s something that you did. Were there a lot of teachers that were doing that
in my school guess, like teachers would have meetings with parents for Google meet, like, we did our conferences that way. We, we had a lot of kids that were just like, Hey, I miss you. Can I talk to you? And I’m like, sure. You know, I know that lots of my co workers were like that. Nice.
I love that. I absolutely love that. Now, as far as more on a teenage level, is this something that you have seen in your own children? As far as, you know, kind of struggling with that self worth aspect, especially in school?
So yes, um, I think one of my biggest mistakes with my the older two was allowing them to have Facebook and social media. younger than I would have thought about, I will not allow my now teenage, my one teenager in school to have any of that social media. I think it does not help them to see reality, because there’s so many filters, and so many things that people can do to make themselves look better than quality. And though I did not, I don’t see my youngest going through that because she’s not allowed to be on that stuff. She is she’s okay with the fact that she is who she is. And I like that. But I did see during quarantine hunter or my oldest daughter, she struggled a little bit because to me not what do you can do? What can you do? You can scroll Facebook, and scroll, Instagram and see all the ways that these people have filtered themselves. And they they’re so skinny. And so I’m like, that’s not reality, sweetheart. I know. And it doesn’t make it any better when mom says it’s not reality, because that’s what she sees every time. But we have to have those conversations of that’s not that person. Right? Like, if you see pictures of who that person looks like in real life, because I’m getting out of bed in the morning. It’s not the same. And it was it was difficult to watch her go through that where she thought that she wasn’t good enough because the people on there aren’t real.
So question because you do have a young teenager. I remember how I was as a young teenager. How do you stop her from getting on Facebook and all that at school when she’s away from you? And away from that parental control?
She’s a different kind of kid. This one’s
I agree. But that’s still.
So how would I stop her? I wouldn’t. So there’s no way I can. I mean, if I’m not with her, I would hope that I’ve instilled enough integrity in her. But she wouldn’t do that. Her biggest downfall right now is YouTube. She loves YouTube, but she’s a big enemy kids. So she watches us stuff on YouTube. She doesn’t have an interest in social media, she doesn’t have that kind of interest. And I’ve fostered that in her either. Okay, I just I don’t think that is healthy for teenagers to be looking at that. I honestly don’t think it’s healthy for 25 year olds looking at that. It’s not real. It’s all perception wasn’t get any age, it can become very unhealthy.
I mean, I I personally look at like, what’s on my social my Facebook feed. And, you know, really the only things that I have on my Facebook feed are other people’s businesses. stuff to enhance my business. I occasionally see stuff from my friends, but it’s like so jumbled in with all of my business stuff, my business groups, etc. that I don’t see anything on Facebook. Well, the only place I see stuff is tik tock,
I enjoy seeing my friends I enjoy seeing my my friends and their families. Do I look in that I’m like, Oh, well, this person is got this and I don’t know. I’m too old for that. If I want it, I’m gonna go get it myself. And that’s kind of what I teach my kids that too though. Like if you want to see a change or you want something to happen, then you need to do it yourself like a weight loss journey. If you feel like you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Let’s look up statistics as to where you should be. And if that’s something you want to aim for, like you start to lose weight and you felt Hey, I feel good right now. I look good, I feel good. I don’t need to be 135 pounds to be happy. Okay, then stop what you’re doing and Bill, be happy with who you are right? They’re
So how do you foster that aspect of being content and loving yourself as you are.
So showing my struggles, I think is part of that showing where I’m at and who I who I am to my kids, and not only just the fights that I have with my husband like we do, are you showing them the courage to say, I don’t know any married couple that doesn’t fight, but it’s about showing them the correct way to fight. Like you don’t, those kinds of things, help them grow and to be the person that they are. and showing them my struggles. I’ve been on a weight loss journey. And I took my oldest daughter with me. So we decided to lose weight together. Well, when you start to feel good, you start to like, you feel good about yourself. And that, not that I didn’t feel good about myself, when I was 40 pounds heavier. I had a great personality, I had a great attitude about who I was, I just felt like my body was telling me, Hey, your knees are hurting, you need to get something done, right. And in my oldest daughter felt the same way. She was heavier in high school. And she was like, Hey, Mom, I want to be able to fit in the