Empowerment is a feeling that may be fostered in children through many different avenues. When children feel empowered, they are able to stand up for what they believe in, do the right thing even under peer pressure and have their own sets of goals and values that will carry them through into adulthood.
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When a student has a healthy self-esteem, they feel empowered. It is easier to stand up for yourself or for someone else when you believe that you are a strong, worthy person. One way to help raise a child's self-esteem is to catch them doing things you can praise. Activities that give children the opportunity to think about their positive attributes also help to increase self-esteem. Have students write poetry by thinking of something they like about themselves that starts with each letter in their name. So, Sara's poem might be: Special Adorable Rare Awesome.
Praise Empowered Behavior
It is hard to take a stand, even for adults. When children do, they are often going against heavy peer pressure. When your child does something, even something small, that is empowered, make sure to acknowledge it. If your child expresses an opinion that is different than yours, makes a good decision on their own or even shows kindness to a stranger, these are all empowered behaviours that should be praised and encouraged.
Teach by Example
Your child will know how to be empowered by seeing empowered behaviours modelled by the adults in their lives. When you see a news story about discrimination, talk to your child about it and give your opinion regarding oppression or bullying. When possible, stand up for the underdog and let your child see you doing it. Empowerment means standing up for yourself, so if there is a situation in your life that requires you to do this, include your child in the discussion about it as much as is appropriate.
Sports as an Empowerment Tool
Athletic endeavours have long been known to have an empowering effect on children. Even if they don't win the game or the race, the act of working hard to prepare and then showing up and playing as part of a team is empowering. Sports teaches children responsibility, endurance and the ability to work well with others. Children who are involved in athletics learn new skills and gain confidence as they improve.
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