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Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers

Right now, BabyE’s self image reflects off of my countenance and behavior towards him. At this age the best way I can make sure he has a positive self image is to take a gentle and positive approach in my daily interactions with him. Lots of hugs, kisses, and cuddles will let him know he is valuable. Responding to his big toddler emotions will let him know he is important.


Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers Baby Kissing Mirror
Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers

The most essential definition of this style of gentle parenting is empathy and respect. This is consistent with what Jesus taught is the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. This makes each parenting decision easy to evaluate. How would I like to be treated in this situation? Am I treating my child in a sub-standard way just because he is younger, smaller, or less able to communicate? 

The thing I like to keep in mind is that I am raising this child to become an adult. I hope he will be one that has empathy and respect for his family, friends, and the world. I’m not raising him to be a three, four, or five year old who obeys his mom and dad the first time every time. That’d be convenient, but that isn’t the end goal. Instead I hope teach him to always think for himself rather than blindly obey. I want him to question everything, even what I teach him. Most of all I want him to be who God created and calls him to be.

The most important thing I can do as a parent is nurture and preserve my relationship with him. I hope to grow a person that I like and respect and want to spend time with. He will be a minor for a mere 17 more years, a child for far less. However, I will be his mom, God willing, for many decades. I look forward to our relationship then as the continuation of the one we are now founding. Even thought he is now so young, there is no room for disregard. With empathy and respect I will mirror the self worth I hope he will grow to see.

Stop by and link up your baby-related posts at the new Tuesday Baby Link Up! Be sure to enter my big anniversary giveaway going on now. 

Image by roseoftimothywoods on Flikr. This post is linked up with Natural Parents Network.



  1. Raising our kids to be adults (not obedient toddlers, preschoolers, etc) – it can be hard to remember in the moment, but it’s so important! I love how that intention is shaping your (and my) choices!

    • And thank goodness I can always ask forgiveness and start again when I fall far short of my intentions and ideals! :)

  2. Empathy and respect go a long way and are the foundations for so much when it comes to our little ones. Lovely post, thanks for sharing!

  3. I love this way of thinking about why empathy is so important. I agree that it is important to raise a child who can think for him or herself! Thank you for writing with us.

  4. This is the first post I’ve read that’s really about a toddler and it’s wonderful. I think we did those things instinctively, but I love the mindfulness you have around it.

  5. I have to agree that treating our children with respect is a huge step in the right direction! I want my children to know they are worth my time… and so much more.

  6. Such a great reminder… our little ones first develop self-image based off how we treat them. It is so important to treat them with empathy and respect so that they know they are valuable, worthy, wonderful little people! Love this beautiful insight :)

  7. Being mindful of our interactions with our little ones are key in how they learn to respect themselves and others. I love your point of view.

  8. Empathy & respect — perfect keywords to keep in mind! I totally agree.

  9. A very pertinent post on the topic of patience – thank you for stopping by the NPN Blog hop! I particularly love these quotes…

    The most essential definition of this style of gentle parenting is empathy and respect. This is consistent with what Jesus taught is the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Most of all I want him to be who God created and calls him to be.

    Thank you for sharing your perspectives on how to cultivate a relationship with your child where he will want to nurture himself and others… truly a mirror experience just as Jesus recommended. Blessings to you and yours.



  1. What I Am Is Not Who I Am by Hybrid Rasta Mama - […] Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers — Shannon at GrowingSlower reflects on encouraging positive self image in even the …

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