I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

How to help your teen build esteem

We should never measure ourselves against other people because we are all unique individuals.  We can’t possibly be the same as somebody else and we are not supposed to be.  Many of the people we are comparing ourselves to, are often very insecure about themselves.

Teens need to develop confidence and increase their self-esteem so they will be able to stand up to negative peer pressures and make good choices in life.  As parents, we can help our own children and any teens we are connected to.  Here are some ways that we can help them build esteem:

  1. Show love – Take very opportunity to show how much you love your children.  No, they don’t just know!!! You have to tell them and show them.  A child who feels loved at home won’t go looking for love in all the wrong places.
  2. Be encouraging – Life will always have problems and teens are very sensitive when they fail or do something wrong.  They need to be encouraged to keep going and know that you will support them.
  3. Have an open mind – Teens need to know that you that you are listening to them and that you are not going to judge everything they say.   You may not always agree with what they are saying, but they aren’t you and they will think differently.  Be honest and open.  Teens will talk to whoever with listen, so make sure that person is you.
  4. Be a positive role model – Teens always watch the people around them to see how they speak and act, so we need to make sure we are presenting a positive example for them to follow.  Be the person you want your teen to be.
  5. Choose your words carefully – Your words have the power to impact your teen in a positive or negative way.  Once your words are spoken, they can’t be taken back, so be very careful you don’t say something that is damaging.  Say things that remind them of their great abilities and strengths.
  6. Spend time with them – Teens do like to spend time with their parents as it makes them feel valued.  Plan some special times as a family and also one-on-one, to build a closer relationship.  Make sure you aren’t spending time criticizing them or they will prefer to spend time with someone else.

The teen years are very difficult and your teen really needs your love and support.  Be there for them and help them navigate through all the challenges they face.  You will face obstacles and often feel like nothing is working, but if you keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to maintain a good relationship, your teen will feel your support and know how much you care.


I wish I could change…..

If you had the opportunity to change something about yourself, what would that be?   For most people, it would be something about their body.   We are a society that is obsessed with body image.

Standards of beauty have become unattainable, especially for women.  Thanks to the media we are continually bombarded with images of beautiful people who make us feel unacceptable and unworthy.   Even women who are very attractive are under pressure to make changes because they don’t measure up to society’s standards.

Women tend to be more critical of their appearance than men and about 80% of women are unhappy about what they see in the mirror.  Some women even see a distorted image that magnifies their size and all their imperfections.

Dissatisfaction with our appearance leads to dieting and girls as young as age 5 have been known to diet because they feel fat and unattractive.   By the age of 10 research shows that about 40% of girls have dieted and this increases to 80% by the time they reach age 18.   Even girls that are normal or under-weight are dieting because they feel bad about themselves.

Parents who are always looking to make changes in their appearance, who are always dieting or obsessing about their weight, will create feelings of insecurities in their children.  This leads to dieting and other serious issues.

We need to help our children and each other to build a healthy esteem so we can be happy with our own body image.   When we feel confident about ourselves and have healthy habits, we will be a good role model and a positive example to others.  When we lack confidence and have unhealthy habits, we will be a poor role model and a negative example to others.





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What is your legacy?

What are you passing on to your children and your grandchildren?  Is it a sum of money, a piece of property, a valuable heirloom?

Many people build up their money and possessions so they can pass on something of value to their children, but is this enough?  It is great to give your children financial security but what about leaving them some love and respect.  How do you treat your children?

  • are you fair or unfair?
  • are you loving or unloving?
  • are you kind or cruel?
  • are you respectful of yourself and others?
  • are you a good role model?

In this video created by Dove, it brings to light how much we can influence our children in a positive or negative way.  If we are constantly criticizing ourselves and focusing on our imperfections and flaws, they will usually follow our poor example and be critical about themselves.  On the other hand, if we are respectful of ourselves and appreciate what we have, they will be more likely to follow our good example and will appreciate the awesome person that they are.

So, what is your legacy?  Do you want to pass on ‘stuff’ to your children and grandchildren or something that will help them navigate through life with a positive attitude and become a responsible, caring adult?   Try doing the exercise shown in this video and see what the results are.   Help your children build good esteem and they will pass this on for generations to come.

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What is the purpose of a family?

Family PortraitThe dictionary describes a family as:

  • a group of people who are related to each other
  • a person’s children
  • a group of related people including people who lived in the past

This certainly is a limited description, yet sadly, it perfectly describes a lot of families today.   We are often related to other people but this doesn’t mean that we live in the same house or even have good relationships.   We are so busy trying to find personal happiness and become independent that we fail to see how important our family really is.

Here is my description of a family.  A family should be:

  • a group of people who love and protect each other
  • a group of people who care for each other during good and bad times
  • a group people who are there when you need them
  • a group of people who set a positive example for each other
  • a group of people who help us learn about our emotions and how to deal with them in a positive way
  • a group of people who help us build good relationships
  • a group of people who can trust each other
  • a group of people who teach us the truth
  • a group of people who set healthy, safe boundaries
  • a group of people who communicate openly and honestly
  • a group of people who work together to solve problems

In my opinion, a family does not have to be related to each other by blood.  A family can be anyone who loves you and takes care of you.   Who is in your family?  Can you add anything to my description?

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Are you a caterpillar or a butterfly?

Do you feel like you are a caterpillar, just crawling along the path of life, going nowhere in particular?

Or do you feel like a butterfly, flying high and free, showing your beauty and confidence to all?

Maybe you feel like a pupa (cocoon), just hanging around, struggling through life, waiting to discover your purpose?

We are all at different stages of our lives, depending on our environment, our background, our personality and the world around us.  Everything has an effect on how we feel about ourselves.   In order to make positive changes in our lives, we need to understand ourselves better.

In my Caterpillar to Butterfly Self-Esteem Workbook, I compare a human life to the stages in a butterfly’s life.  By creating a visual picture, it is sometimes easier to understand ourselves better.

CLIP CATR3In Stage one (the Egg Stage), the adult butterfly lays its eggs and waits for them to hatch.  This is similar to the pregnancy stage where the human is waiting for her child to come into the world.

In Stage two (the Caterpillar or Larvae Stage), the caterpillar starts eating and growing, while crawling along the path of life.  This is similar to the baby/toddler/child years where the child grows and learns.

In Stage three (the Pupal or Chrysalis Stage), the caterpillar struggles through metamorphosis, while rapid changes are taking place inside.  This is similar to the teenage years where the teen struggles with life situations while dealing with rapid changes.clip Monarch flying

Finally in Stage four (the Butterfly or Adult stage), the caterpillar emerges as a beautiful and confident butterfly.  This is similar to the adult stage where people can use everything they have learned and reach their potential in life.

If a child has grown up in a mainly positive environment, receiving lots of love and encouragement, they will have enough confidence to reach and remain in the butterfly stage for most of their lives.  Even when stressful situations happen, they may slip back into the pupal or caterpillar stage for a period of time, but will quickly return to being a butterfly.

However, if a child has grown up in a mainly negative environment, being the recipient of anger, abuse or neglect, they will lack the confidence to reach or remain in the butterfly stage.  They will develop fears and insecurities that will take them quickly back to the safety of the cocoon or caterpillar stage.

Confidence and good self-esteem are necessary for a successful, happy life.   All you have to do is change your perspective on life and learn to accept yourself despite your flaws and imperfections.  Developing a positive mindset takes a lot of hard work and commitment but everyone has the potential to become a confident butterfly.

If you would like more information on developing confidence and good esteem, visit my website at   My workbook can be ordered through the Bookstore page.






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Happy father’s day

father and sonHappy father’s day!  Today is a good day to celebrate being a father and having a father.  It is also a good day to reflect on what kind of father you are.

Do you set a good example for your children?   What are you teaching them through your words and actions?

Do you show:

  • love or hate
  • kindness or meanness
  • respect or disrespect
  • tolerance or intolerance
  • honesty or dishonesty
  • calmness or irritability
  • patience or anger
  • responsibility or irresponsibility

Children are listening to our words and watching our actions.  They are greatly influenced by what they hear and see.   Our bad habits can become their bad habits.   Our bad behaviours can become their bad behaviours.

Consider your own words and actions and make any changes so you can become the example that you want your children to follow.





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Are you paying more attention to your smartphone or your child?

smartphoneTechnology seems to be taking over our lives.  People are becoming addicted to using their cellphones, laptops, emails and other forms of wireless communication.  It isn’t just kids, adults are equally guilty of spending too much time checking their cellphones and emails.  You can’t go out anywhere without seeing someone who is talking on their phone.  Grocery shoppers are getting a list of items over the phone.  Diners in a restaurant are carrying on a conversation with someone while they are eating.  People on the street are calling a friend.  Drivers are reading a text that has just come in.  Many people have absolutely no patience at all when their phone rings or an email or text comes in and they are compelled to answer it instantly no matter what time of day or night it is.   The source of technology has taken control over their lives and now they have an addiction.

This is causing a lot of problems:

  1. High amounts of stress which can lead to lack of energy, poor sleep, unhealthy eating habits, illnesses
  2. Inability to prioritize which can result in lost time at work or school, missed appointments
  3. Potential injury or death if using while driving
  4. Lack of emotional control, little patience or self-control
  5. Poor communication with others face-to-face which can result in loss of friends, clients, jobs
  6. Makes other people feel ignored when phones and laptops take priority
  7. Miss important life experiences that take place while on phone or computer

I have a young grandson and I’m very concerned about the world he is growing up in.   People are putting more of a priority on their cell phones than they do on their children and at what cost?  Today I read an article called, “For the children’s sake, put down that smartphone”.  In the article a psychologist talks about the effect mobile devices have on children.  She interviewed 1000 children between the ages of 4 and 18 and they were ‘sad, mad, angry and lonely’ because of their parents’ smartphones or ‘stupid phones’, as some stated.

A pediatrician tells about a situation where she observed a mother totally ignoring her baby whom she was pushing in a stroller.  The baby was smiling and making faces at the mom but the mom was watching a video on her smartphone that she had placed between her and the baby.  What a shame that the mom chose the phone over a wonderful experience to share with her baby.  You can read the entire article here

Technology is great and it has many advantages but we need to make sure that we are not being controlled by our cell phones or other technology.  If you think you are becoming addicted, PLEASE take some steps to curb this terrible habit.   Here are some suggestions:

  • turn your cell phone OFF when you are working, in a meeting, talking to other people, eating in a restaurant, in your car, while you are sleeping – you DO NOT need to be available 24 hours a day, people will leave a message if it is important or call you back
  • avoid answering calls or texts immediately if you are talking to someone or spending time with your children – this is actually VERY RUDE and can result in lost friendships and hurt your children
  • only check your emails at certain times of day
  • if you are a business person, hire someone else to read your emails and only forward the important ones to you

Monitor your use of technology and use moderation.  Teach your children to do the same thing so they won’t develop a bad habit or become addicted.   Your children are very likely to follow your example so make sure you are being a responsible role model.  Remember that people are far more important and valuable than a piece of equipment.  Build relationships and only make use of technology when you really need to.

Are you paying more attention to  your smartphone or your child?




What are you wearing today?

lady looking in mirrorThe way we look can have a profound effect on how others see us and also how we see ourselves.  Before going out in the world, ask yourself what kind of image you want others to see.  Remember the statement, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words”.  What kind of picture are you showing to the public by the way you dress?  We should always try to look our best so we show others that we respect ourselves and have confidence.

However, looking our best should not just apply to our outer attire.   How we appear to others includes far more than our clothing, hairstyle and accessories.   We can have outer beauty and look good on the outside but neglect to wear any inner beauty.

When you go out, do you put on a good attitude, a caring manner and a pleasant smile?  Do you show love, compassion and understanding?  Are your words full of kindness and your actions full of respect?   Are you wearing your inner beauty?

We spend so much time worrying about how we look on the outside and trying to impress other people that we often ignore what is going on inside.  We need to work hard at creating a beautiful personality so that our inner beauty will shine through and we can be a good example to others.  This will bring happiness and success to our lives.

What are you wearing today?

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What does it mean to be rich?

lady thinking about moneyMany people in this world believe that they are rich when they have a lot of money or possessions.   However, the word ‘rich’ means to have an abundance of something but not necessarily material things.   Being rich can mean that you have a wonderful family, a fulfilling career, knowledge, good health, sufficient food and a comfortable place to live.  It all depends on what is important in your life.

I just watched a video about a boy who didn’t feel very rich.  He lived alone with his father, who was always working hard, yet they lived very poor.   He thought his father was not very smart and didn’t like or respect him.  At the end of the video, the son saw his father from a different perspective, but it was very sad because they could have lived a much better life if the father had treated his son in a different way.  Please watch the video and then see if you agree with my comments below.

The son grew up believing that his father did not care about him.    When he picked up the note his father had written (You will be a great man, just believe), for an instant he thought it was for him and he was very happy, but quickly his father damaged his esteem by telling him the note was not for him.   He didn’t have any problem giving notes to other children, but he seemed to have a problem giving notes to his son.  It is important that parents tell their children how much they love them and encourage them to do great things.   Some parents have difficulty communicating verbally to their children, but they can do this in other ways:  writing a note, giving a hug, etc.  The father could have allowed his son to have the note and could have written another one for the other child.

When the son was given money, the father made him put some of it in a jar, telling him it was to pay the taxes.  The father also put money in the jar.  The son asked his father why they weren’t rich and the dad told him that being rich wasn’t about how much we have but about what we give.  The problem was, the father didn’t explain what the money was for.  What was the point in keeping this secret?   The boy should have openly been taught to be generous and even gone on some trips with him to the orphanage.  This would have created a strong bond between the father and son.

The son wanted to become successful, so he tried very hard at school and ended up with a good career that took him away from his dad.  The day he left, the dad gave him some money with a big smile, but the son gave it back and both of them parted very sad.  Then when the father called to ask his son if he was coming home, he was turned aside and left alone.   It wasn’t until the dad passed away, that the son found out what he had been doing and how much other people had respected him.

This video makes me very sad, because this father had a generous, loving heart but he didn’t know how to show it to his son.  He was able to connect with strangers but he was very lacking in parenting skills and it affected their lives in a negative way.   The son went through his childhood and teen years hoping to get his father’s approval and feeling that he had no value.    This happens in so many families where parents don’t know how to communicate openly with their children and this leads to family and relationship breakdowns.

Parents need to be aware of how they are communicating with their children.   If we have come from a family that didn’t communicate very well, we need to take steps and learn how to communicate effectively so we can build strong relationships with our family and friends.   Our children don’t just know that we love them or accept them.  THEY NEED TO BE TOLD.  THEY NEED TO BE REMINDED.  THEY NEED MEANINGFUL TOUCHES.  THEY NEED ENCOURAGEMENT.  So do our spouses, our siblings, our relatives and our friends.  People can’t read our minds but they can read our body language and they can hear what we say.

So what does it mean to be rich?  As the father in this video said, “Being rich is not about how much you have but about how much you can give”.  This means we are rich if we are generous to other people – by giving our love, our time, our talents and our treasure.   When we do this, we receive something very wonderful in return – LOVE.

For me, being rich is being loved.  What does being rich mean to you?



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Parents are allowing their children to become overweight

4 kidsIn today’s world, being overweight is becoming a huge issue.  More people are overweight now than ever before.  Obesity rates in Canada alone have tripled in less than 30 years!!  Unfortunately this problem often starts in early childhood and is actually allowed by parents. sometimes without them even realizing it is happening.

Children’s weight can be influenced greatly by TV and internet use.  I read an article today about 2 different studies that have been done with groups of children who were overweight.

In the first study, they broke the children into 2 groups and gave them a plan for managing their weight and weekly goals.  One of the groups was given a game console with active sports games and the other group was give a game console with less active games.  At the end of the study, the group that was following the plan and doing the active games had lost some weight.

What the researchers were trying to prove is that children need activity.  They were not promoting the use of active video games, however it likely helped the participants adhere to their goals easier.

In the second study, reports were done comparing the weight of children who watched more TV than others.   The study revealed that children who have TV in their bedrooms and who watch more TV every day will gain more weight than children who don’t sit and watch as much TV.    When people watch TV they tend to snack more and exercise less which contributes greatly to weight gain.

As parents and caregivers, we need to realize that we are hurting our children if we allow them to just sit and watch TV instead of getting up and doing something active.  We all know that once we gain weight, it is hard to take it off.  So start being a responsible parent and take care of your child’s health.   Stop allowing your child to be passive, encourage them to do something active.  The best thing you can if you love your child is turn off that TV and limit those video games!!

Here is a link to the complete story.

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