How to get positives into parenting our children

Extract from ‘Self-esteem a family affair’ by Jean Illsley Clarke; Harper and Row, New York, 1978

BIRTH to 6 MONTHS: affirmations for BEING

• You have every right to be here
• Your needs are ok with me
• I’m glad you are a boy / girl
• You don’t have to hurry (and grow up)
• I like to hold you


• You don’t have to do tricks (be smart, cute, stupid, sick, happy, tough, fragile, busy to get positive strokes)
• It’s ok to do things (try things, initiate, be curious, be intuitive) and get support and protection at the same time

18 months to 3 years: THINKING

• I’m glad you are growing up
• I am not afraid of your anger
• You can think about what you feel
• You don’t have to take care of me by thinking for me
• You can be sure about what you need and want and think

3 to 6 years: IDENTITY

• You can be powerful and still have needs
• You don’t have to act scary (or sick, angry or sad) to get taken care of
• You can express your feelings straight

6 to 12 years: STRUCTURE

• You can think before you make that rule your own
• You can trust your feelings to help you know
• You can do it your way
• You don’t have to suffer to get what you need
• It’s ok to disagree

13 to 19 years: SEXUALITY

• You can be a sexual person and still have needs
• It’s ok to know who you are
• You’re welcome to come home again
• I love you

Richard Mottram BSc (Arch), AADip, Dip (Couns), MBACP (Accred)

T: 01946 823915 – E:

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