Self-esteem may come easier to some kids than others, but even if a child’s self-esteem is low, it can be raised. Here are 5 things parents can do to help kids feel good about themselves.
Tip 1 – Ban harsh criticism.
When kids hear negative messages about themselves, it harms their self-esteem. These negative messages often translate into how they feel about themselves. Harsh words such as “you’re lazy!” can be harmful, not motivating. Be patient and respond to a negative situation rather than react.
Tip 2 – Focus on descriptive praise.
Ask yourself, does my praise make my children more dependent upon me and my approval, or do my words help them see their strengths and give them a clearer picture of their abilities and accomplishments?
Constant praise such as good job! Wonderful! Great! is a way of making and keeping children dependent on us. So instead of telling your child “you’re brilliant and so strong”, try saying, “That was a really heavy load. Thanks for your help.”
This is much more effective in building self-esteem. They can then think to themselves “I must be pretty strong. Mum thought I was a good helper.” These internal conclusions will be much more believeable to the child than a parent’s general value judgement of the child as a person.
Tip 3 – Encourage them to learn.
As your child grows, things like learning to put on their coat, read, or ride a bike are chances for self-esteem to grow. Even during babyhood, learning to hold a cup or take first steps sparks a sense of mastery and delight.
Tip 4 – Making their own decisions.
Let your toddler make reasonable decisions – for example, whether to have an apple or a banana as a snack. This gives toddlers an exciting sense of control, which helps to develop confidence and a sense of self.
Tip 5 – Learn to take a step back.
Parents have to learn to step back and let their child take risks, make choices and solve problems. This will help them to become competent in the world, compared with continually heaping on praise for everything they do.
Source: Jim Taylor, Your kids are listening.
What works with you and your little one/s in terms of boosting their self-esteem?