Home > Ways To Build Your Kid’s Self-Esteem
Posted by Shannon M. on Thursday, March 8th, 2012
The self-esteem we build or, adversely, destroy in childhood often follows us into adulthood. A healthy self-image and perception is the very foundation on which most of our social and intellectual happiness rests. Without self-esteem to armor your child, she is left exposed and nearly defenseless to the challenges of the world. Although parents are unfortunately not the only factors in developing a child’s image of herself (media, friends, etc), they are the greatest source of strength in implementing these values.
By simply listening – really listening – to your child, you are telling them that they are worth your time. Even when you feel like you have a million things going on at once, always take the time to listen to your child. When they do something wrong, listen to them, hear them out, and forgive them. Read with them, answer their questions, listen to their silly conversations, and support their interests.
A parent’s praise and encouragement, to a child, is like a drug. They crave your attention, encouragement, and affection – so give it generously and spontaneously. If you notice that your child is improving in an area of her life, offer praise. When they draw a picture, score a goal, or do something on their own – offer praise. They long to see that gleam in your eye and, trust me, they will always remember it. Even if you think they know you’re proud of them, tell them over and over and over again.
Nuture their passions
Part of nurturing a child’s passions is helping them to discover their passions. This means exploring different activities that they may or may not enjoy. For example, you may love football and encourage your child to do the same but they may discover that they really like, say, Renaissance fairs instead. That’s okay. Let your child be who they want to be and make these little discoveries on the way.
Let them fail
No doubt, it’s challenging for a parent to sit back and watch their kid do something the wrong way a hundred times over. So while you’re toiling over your child’s mistakes, remember that their self-esteem will actually be bolstered by figuring out solutions on their own. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to be completely hands-off when your child needs you. What I’m advocating is gentle, objective guidance to help them discover the answers on their own.
Think about what your child really enjoys doing and try to apply that to a need within the community. For example, if your child loves animals, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. When we are part of a larger whole, it gives us perspective on ourselves, which opens the door for healthy self-esteem to come through.
Always offer your child an environment of unconditional love and encouragement. A child’s sense of self flourishes in an environment with no-strings-attached parenting and love.