By Melissa Alagich, Melissa Alagich Photography
Parenting is tough! Rewarding but let’s face it tough. We are faced with a myriad of information about how to raise our children. Not too much of this, not too much of that, more of this, more of that – it pulls us every which way. Now think about our children in today’s modern world they are inundated with various forms of media that provides the added pressure of childhood making them feel they need to look a certain way, act a certain way, eat this, wear that…what must this feel like for them? As a parent this can be a tricky one to counter. I don’t have the answers but as a parent I think the best thing we can do is show our children they are loved and they matter for who they are.
And I bet on more than one occasion, as a parent, you have thought about how you can build your child’s confidence, and self esteem. But have you ever thought how photography can do just that? One major aspect of family photography, that we rarely consider, is how it can help us raise children with stronger confidence in their ability and work.
So how can family photography help boost a child’s self-esteem? It provides them with a sense of belonging and it tells them they are loved and cared about – it makes them feel important.
Dr David Krauss a licensed psychologist from Ohio says ”I think it really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to make and create the image to look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level”
“It lets children learn who they are and where they fit” says Judy Weiser, a psychologist, art therapist and author “when a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘these people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”
This generation is the most photographed generation but with the least amount of physical printed photos to show for it. Knowing that photographs can play a big part in providing a boost to a child’s self esteem I truly believe printed images are so important. Yes we all love digital and it’s the world we live in, we can’t escape that. But there’s something comforting in having something physical to touch, feel and to see. It’s heart warming to see the love, connection and miracle of our family every day. It’s great for us as adults too. You know those days “those” days we all have them. It might be a tough day or simply tired and stress and then you see that image on the wall, the joy, the happiness – it takes us back to that moment. And remind us what wonderful little beings we have created.
“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one and other, and we honor the memories we have experienced,” says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and professional photographer.
On digital vs printed photos Kraus says “My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall. I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort. They have a certainty about them and a protecting quality that nurtures a child. It let’s them know where they are in the pecking order and that they are loved and card for”.
So many of my clients have told me they purchased digital files only from their wedding or their last professional photography session, and then go on to say that all their intentions went out the window and that USB or DVD is still sitting in the draw or cupboard. And others got confused about what to do with them. This is one reason why I love to provide finished printed products (along with digital files). A full service professional photographer provides you with more than just a memory, we guide you and help you with everything you need, from what clothing options are best, to how best to display your photos within your home.
Additionally Krauss recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day.
“It says we love you and care about you. You’re important” And more importantly don’t put off the family photography. Don’t wait until you loose weight, your hair is longer, the children’s front teeth come through – there are so many excuses. Children love you for who you are. You could be unkept and in your dressing gown, but if you are loving them and happy that’s all they’ll see – it’s you they love and what you provide them with – not how good you look in your skinny jeans.
I love to capture and document a family as they celebrate the miracle of a newborn, celebrate this precious life created and the incredible journey that has just begun.
For more information please visit www.melissaalagich.com.au
Find out more about Melissa Alagich Photography at www.melissaalagich.com.au
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.