SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Life is a journey full of bumps in the road, but learning how to overcome them positively is a skill set every child should be empowered with.

This week on Kids Under Construction, parenting journalist and expert Donna Tetreault speaks with ABC4’s Emily Clark about the importance of teaching your children the skill of self-acceptance.

“We know from research that rejection actually changes the parts of the brain that are essential for learning, memory, emotional control, so if parents really dig into this and understand what this means, even subtle rejection, it really disrupts the developmental process and this can go into adulthood,” says Tetreault.

Tetreault says it’s important to be aware of the language you’re choosing when talking to children about the complex emotions linked to rejection.

One of the most important pieces of work you can do as a parent is truly embracing your child for who they are and not who you want them to be. The best way to start? “Throwing away preconceived notions of what you think your child should be or the perfect life your child should be living,” says Tetreault.

Putting this idea into practice is best done by allowing your child to choose their own extracurricular activities. Empowering your children to embrace themselves during times of hardship is critical, too. If your child is struggling after receiving a low test score or is struggling to learn a sport or instrument, they’ll naturally internalize that struggle, which can lead to low self-esteem.

In times like these, as a parent, Tetreault says it’s critical to help your children understand that, ‘You’re learning, you’re growing, you’re evolving. Accept yourself for where you are in this moment, it will change. We really want to keep this ongoing conversation with our children — love yourself.”

To watch the full conversation with Tetreault, check out the video above.