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I am writing in response to a column by John Rosemond published in The Times on Sept. 27 ("Self-Esteem is Destructive"). I was greatly disturbed by the article and any influence it might have on well-meaning parents.
At no point in the article, does Rosemond define self-esteem. It sounds as if he is speaking against traits such as arrogance and noisy conceit. I would be quick to agree that those traits are unacceptable and must be discouraged.
According to Dorothy Corkill Brings, in her book "Your Child's Self-Esteem," "self esteem is how a person feels about himself. It is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self-worth."
My experience, as both parent and a college professor, is that healthy self-esteem is absolutely essential to a person's well being and success. Healthy relationships and meaningful achievement grow out of healthy self-esteem. It is not possible to feel good about other people unless one first feels good about himself.
Parents are primary in building a child's self-concept. Parents are mirrors in which children see themselves. Positive, parental feedback builds healthy self-esteem in children and youth.
Marie J. Bridges