Factors affecting children’s self esteem:
- How much the child feels wanted, appreciated and loved
- How your child sees himself, often built from what parents and those close to him say
- His or her sense of achievement
- How the child relates to others
Your child’s self esteem can be increased by you:
- Appreciating your child
- Telling your child that you love him
- Spending time with your child
- Encouraging your child to make choices
- Fostering independence in your child
- Giving genuine importance to your child’s opinion and listening
- Taking the time to explain reasons
- Feeding your child with positive encouragement
- Encouraging your child to try new and challenging activities
Appreciating your child
A child’s self esteem will suffer if he or she is not appreciated. Children know if you are sincere or not. If you spend time together you must enjoy yourself or there is no point. Show your appreciation at all times, by telling your child you love him or her. Thanking a child when he does something good is a wonderful reward because children like to please.
Your child’s esteem is boosted with your encouragement. Encourage decision making; this will lead to a feeling of confidence and independence. Self esteem comes from what we think about ourselves. Praise is external. We would debate those who say praise creates kids addicted to it, who wind up needing it to feel good. We’d modify it instead to say “encouragement” is what’s needed rather than praise. A child who is told she “could do better”, could wind up feeling no matter what she did, it would not be good enough to please others. That’s where encouragement comes in.
A child’s self esteem will be higher if you treat him or her seriously and with respect. Explain everything and treat him as an intelligent individual able to understand and reach conclusions. You want to be treated like this, and children are no different. A child who is belittled, patronized or put down will suffer lack of confidence. Mutual respect fosters trust and confidence.
Dealing with failure
If a child fails, he must not be made to feel like a failure. It’s important to teach children that failure does not exist, but rather there are sometimes temporary setbacks on the road to success. Never tell a child he has failed, let you down, or cannot succeed. Be a mentor and help the child to believe in his or her ability to succeed no matter how long it takes.