How Books Increase the Self-Esteem of Children of All Colors
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It’s very easy to assume we all face the same challenges as parents, but this isn’t the case. Consider, for the moment, that all-important question, how to increase your child’s self-esteem? Creating a positive sense of self is important to any child, but some parents face more of a challenge than others. This is especially true when it comes to how children see themselves in popular culture.
The heroes and role models in modern culture are more varied than ever, but even so, it’s hard to find many who aren’t white. This can pose a problem if you don’t fall into a light-skinned demographic. It’s not that an African-American kid can’t dream of being Superman, but there’s a barrier there that his friends may not have to jump.
Kids like to see themselves in themselves in their heroes, and are extremely sensitive to media portrayals of their ethnic or cultural group. When popular culture portrays people who look like you in a negative light, it can have a serious impact on self-esteem.
How to Increase Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Books
Fortunately, books offer a medium where a child’s image of a character need not be determined by popular culture. Unless the book specifically describes someone as a certain skin color, there’s no reason for a child to assume they don’t look like her.
Personalized books for children take things a step further. By customizing the book’s hero with your child’s name, gender, and even photo, you provide your kid with a hero who not only looks like him—he is him! This makes any child feel special.
Reading itself is an excellent way to increase a child’s self-worth, perhaps because the act of reading requires effort. You can watch television or a movie passively, but reading is an active form of entertainment. It’s up to the child to imagine the world of the book, how the characters talk, and how they look. Even if the story is a picture book, the reader brings the pictures to life, which requires an imaginative effort.
In a perfect world, it wouldn’t matter what skin color our children’s heroes were, and with time and effort, we might yet get there. Until then, books offer a chance to introduce children of all colors to characters who are defined by what they do, not how they look.