Self-esteem plays a significant role in the development of healthy children. Children with high self-esteem generally become more successful in life. Unfortunately, the outcomes for children with low self-esteem can be quite poor. As a parent, your child’s self-esteem is largely your responsibility. There is a lot you can do to help your child to feel confident and competent.
Children with high self-esteem have the confidence to try new activities and feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments. While it’s never pleasant to fail, these kids possess the emotional ability to withstand lack of success, as well as maintain the courage to try again.
Children with low self-esteem are self-critical and have difficulty being positive when making mistakes. This may lead to the child not being able to try again, or refusing the next opportunity to be successful.
Children can be sensitive and have a peer group that can be quite harsh, so as a parent, what you do at home matters tremendously. It’s critical that your child possesses a healthy reserve of self-esteem, which will also serve as a buffer to survive the unpleasantness of other kids.
Give your child the best chance to thrive and be happy.
Use the following strategies to help your child feel good about themselves:
1. Love your child unconditionally. Every child should believe that no matter what they do—success or failure— their parents still love them and will continue to be there for them.
- Consider the impact it has on a child’s self-esteem when they believe they’re only loved when they behave a certain way or achieve a specific result.
2. Help your child to set achievable goals. Few things are more beneficial to self-esteem than success. Work with your child to establish these goals.
- Begin with goals that are very easy to accomplish. Give your child a taste of success and the confidence boost that goes along with it.
- For example, a good goal for a young child might be to clean their room.
3. Encourage persistence. Success and persistence go hand-in-hand. Find courage in your child to be persistent, and you are showing them how to be successful.
- Praise your child when they stick with a difficult challenge and don’t give up.
- One way you can help your child is to set a good example. Demonstrate what it means to persevere.
4. Give your child choices. It’s hard to have self-esteem when you don’t have any control over your life. To provide a sense of self-control, give your child choices. This can be as simple as giving them two options for lunch or allowing them to choose what shoes they wear that day.
5. Discourage perfection. Discourage your child from attempting to be perfect—a game that no one can win. Your child’s self-esteem will suffer when they realize that they can never be perfect.
- Show your child that you value effort and progress. These are actions that anyone can achieve.
6. Avoid over-praising. Your child knows when your praise is excessive. Give praise when recognition is due. Also, praise your child for making a good effort. It should be noted that excessive praise has been shown to hurt a child’s confidence rather than boost it.
7. Allow your child to overhear you complimenting them. A child gets a big boost to their self-esteem when they hear a parent praising them to another adult.
- Your children are always watching you. Use that to your advantage.
8. Take good care of yourself. Taking good care of yourself shows your child that you’re important. They will believe that they’re important and should take care of themselves as well. You can model how to make themselves a priority.
There’s no doubt that a child with high self-esteem is happier and more confident. We want the best for our children, so it’s our responsibility to help lead our children down this path.
What we do at home can have a significant impact on our children’s future. Teach your children to love and believe in themselves, and they’ll reap the benefits throughout their entire lives.
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- Eight Ways to Encourage Self-Motivation in Your Child