Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. It is not something that is just given to us at birth, but something we learn, create for ourselves, and develop over time. According to Schab (2016), people with healthy self-esteem "have positive thoughts and feelings about themselves”. They are able to look at their positive qualities and strengths without the need to put others down when they make mistakes or to make up for their shortcomings. A healthy self-esteem includes the following characteristics:
• A positive respect for yourself
• Acknowledging your strengths and accepting weaknesses
• An accurate belief about your equality with others around you (Schab, 2016)
It can be hard as a parent when you witness your child putting themselves down, using negative self-talk, or if they lack confidence to do things they should enjoy! Parents want what is best for their children, and will do whatever they to help them thrive through life.
Your child may have low self-esteem if he or she has excessive negative self-talk or refuses to try new hobbies due to being afraid of failing. If you find your child struggling with a low self-esteem, try these tips...
Tips To Help Your Child Develop a Healthy Self-Esteem:
• Take a step back: It is okay to let children make their own choices, take their own risks, learn from those experiences, and finish what they start even if it is challenging for them.
• Be careful overpraising: Sometimes too much praise can backfire in that children can start to not believe it because it happens all the time. Also, when we overpraise children begin to think that they do not have to push themselves because the bar is already set. However, according to Myers (2016), “confidence comes from doing, from trying and failing and trying again—from practice.” Praising effort is more effective than praising the end result. For example, try saying, “I tried my hardest” versus “we lost because I struck out” or “I will do better next time” versus “I failed because I’m dumb”.
• Let them help you: If there are chores to do around the house (clearing the table after dinner or helping you put the dishes in the dishwasher), or you need help with a certain project that they are capable of doing-let them do it. Children take pride in accomplishing tasks and feel good about themselves when they do it. Praise the process rather than the outcome.
• Be an appropriate role model and show unconditional love: Children learn from others so be aware if you mess up or make a mistake-practice positive self-statements for yourself such as “I’ll try better next time,” or “it’s okay, I know if I just practice at it I will get better.” Also, let children know that you love them no matter if they fail or mess up-it is okay.
• Help children set realistic goals that are achievable for them: For instance, if they want to try baseball, putting them on a AAA team probably won’t be the best idea if they are just starting out. Try putting them on a league that is more at his/her level of ability to set them up for success, not disappointment.
• Encourage and practice positive self-talk: Take time every day to have children talk to you about things they did well that day or things they feel proud about. Positive self-talk encourages children to bring out the positive of a negative situation and it also helps them identify their good qualities. For example, getting your children to use “I am” statements to identify positive characteristics of your child- “I am good at math” or “I am a friendly person with my friends”. Practicing a behavior helps children become better at it.
Myers, R. C. (2017, May 23). 11 ways to help your kid build self-esteem. Retrieved from https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-build-your-childs-self-esteem/
Schab, L. M. (2016). Self-esteem for Teens Six Principles for Creating the Life You Want. Paw Prints.
Toozhy, M. (2015, April 01). 7 Simple Steps to Develop Your Child's Self-Confidence. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mehdi-toozhy/7-simple-steps-to-develop-your-childs-self-confidence_b_6977296.html