What is self-esteem?
Self- esteem is the estimate of self. It is the estimate of one’s capability and worth in one’s own eyes. It determines what a person thinks he/she is capable of. It determines what a person will attempt. And it also determines how successful a person will be in what he/she undertakes.
Why do children need high self-esteem?
One of the most important things we need to do when we parent our children is – to build their self-esteem. If you can build your child’s self-esteem – you can help him conquer the world.
High self-esteem is an extremely important determinant of success. A child with high self-esteem will welcome new challenges because he thinks “I am capable” and “I am worthy”.
A child with low self-esteem on the other hand will be afraid of challenges. Every challenge will seem like a threat to a child with low self-esteem because the child believes that he will fail at whatever he attempts and so constantly anticipates insult and injury.
How do parents try to build self-esteem in their children?
Almost every parent nowadays is aware that children must have high self-esteem. But there is a mistaken belief among parents about how self-esteem in children is built.
Many parents believe that self-esteem can be built by telling children how good and great they are. But this is the wrong way to build self-esteem.
Merely telling a child that he is amazing – only serves to make him pompous and arrogant.
Also read Can You Praise Your Child Too Much?
What is the right way to build a child’s self-esteem?
Children don’t need to be told how wonderful they are. They need to be shown how wonderful they are.
One of the first ways in which children estimate their worth in this world is by estimating how much they mean to their parents. Children need to see that they are important and that they matter in the eyes of their parents.
And no matter what words are spoken – children read our actions more than they hear our words. Always ensure that you show your child in your actions – what you say to him/her in words.
If you tell your child “You are the smartest and most lovable child and every one loves you and wants to be your friend”. Then you must show your child that what you are saying is true – by spending your time with him /her.
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4 things you can do to build your child’s self-esteem –
- Tell your child “I love you” all the time – We love our children so much – but very often we fail to tell them that we love them. Children need to hear us tell them that we love them. Children also need to feel our love in our hugs and kisses, Unconditional love can make a person wonderful. Nothing else can match up to that.
- Support your child when he/she tries something new – Trying something new is extremely challenging and a child needs a lot of courage to try new things. Many a times – instead of filling children with courage when they attempt something new – we fill them with fear and doubt. Also instead of appreciating the effort children put into doing something for the first time – we are often critical of the results.Children are very vulnerable when they attempt something new. They are already afraid. We need to be their pillars of strength at this time. We must fill them with courage and let them know that we will love them no matter what. That we will love them just as much whether they succeed or fail.
- Show your child that you enjoy being with her/him and want to spend time with her/him – Life is busy. There is so much to do every day that relaxing and doing what you really want to do often begins to feel like a luxury. As parents – what we truly want to do more than anything else is – to spend time with our children – but time is usually in short supply and we cannot spend as much time as we want with them.The best way however – to show our children that they are important and that they matter is – to spend time with them .When spending time with your child remember to be there. Live in the moment. Be present. Don’t let your mind wander to tasks that are pending. Switch off your phone and just be there. When children know that they are important enough to be the focus of all your attention – it builds their self-esteem like nothing else can.Also read Is your child too busy and over-scheduled?
- Don’t compare your child with others -When we compare our children with others – we unintentionally convey to them that they are not good enough. A child who feels that he is not good enough cannot have high self-esteem.Ensure that you tell your children that you are proud of them and that they should be proud of themselves for what they are.Also read Do you compare your child with others? Stop immediately !Building a child’s self-esteem and keeping it intact is one of the most important things we do as parents.
Self-esteem is not built in a day. It is not built by a few false reassurances and promises. It requires time commitment and patience. Commit to building your child’s self-esteem.
Read more on how to build your child’s self-esteem here