Your child’s self-esteem is the mental foundation that is the key to a lifetime of good mental health and happiness as an adult.
At all ages, how you feel about yourself affects everything about your life.
A confident child is secure, happy, and well-adjusted – characteristics that are likely to follow them into adulthood.
How to build self-esteem in your child
Accept your child for who they are.
A pillar of self-esteem is self-image. How you see yourself has a major impact on behaviour.
When a child likes the person that they are, and feels comfortable in their own skin, then they most likely feel valued. Parents are the main source of a child’s sense of self-worth and value.
Avoid knocking your child down. We all get frustrated and say and do things as parents that we should strive not to do.
Even small things like sighing every time your child tries to talk you can be damage to their self-worth. Try to show they are worthy of your attention and avoid making negative comments.
Demonstrate they matter to you.
Feeling like you matter can really enhance self-esteem and can lead to better social interactions.
As parents, we can do this by making sure our children know that they matter.
The best way to do this is to spend lots of quality time with your child, at least once a week. Even if it is as simple as playing their favourite game with them or taking time to talk about their interests during the drive to school.
Teach your child that everyone makes mistakes.
Children with high self-esteem don’t let fear of failure stop them as they are able to take mistakes in stride and learn from them.
A child with low self-esteem, on the other hand, may become frustrated and resort to self-depreciating behaviour, such as calling themselves ‘stupid’.
Build your child’s self-esteem by changing how you react to their mistakes. Blowing up when they make a mistake is damaging.
Instead of getting upset calmly talk to them about it.
Show them how to learn and grow from their mistakes, and the value that can come from this. Let them know that you make mistakes too.
Nurture their talents.
Help your child discover their abilities and talents and introduce outlets for them to build on and improve them. Praise your child not only for improvements in abilities and skills, but also for the traits they naturally possess.
Exploring their own interests and talents can help children develop a strong sense of identity, another pillar of self-esteem.
Involve them in decisions.
Give your child a sense of control over their own life. Allowing your child to make decisions for themselves leads to more positive self-esteem.
This can be as simple as letting them pick out their own clothing for the day.
Provide opportunities for them to feel capable.
Another pillar of high self-esteem is a result of feeling capable and able to achieve goals.
A great way of achieving this is by giving your children opportunities where they are sure to find success. Yes, challenge is good for kids, but so is ensuring your child feels comfortable and capable enough to tackle bigger challenges.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!