Self-esteem is the good feeling a person has about himself or herself. It is a crucial part of a child’s personal development. Self-esteem is nurtured across a person’s lifetime, but it begins in childhood. When a child feels good about themselves, they have confidence in what they do each day.
During the past few decades, a stronger emphasis has been put on self esteem in children. Why is this so? Parents and child experts understand the impact a strong sense of self-esteem has on a child. Fortunately, you are in a prime position to make this happen. Learn more about why self-esteem is important and what you can do in your home.
As a parent, you have a great deal of influence on your child’s self-esteem. The home environment you create teaches your children what to expect from themselves. Giving encouragement and emphasizing strengths will help your children develop their talents and skills. Put-downs and emotional neglect stifles this development, leading children to assume the worst about their capabilities and personal worth.
Every human being needs to believe they are part of something good, that they have unique value, and that they belong. As a parent, you need to monitor how you interact with your children. Do you say something when they do well, or do you make comments only when they do something wrong? Do you help each of your children understand the value of diversity, or you openly favor one child’s talents and interests over your other child’s?
Self-esteem is created when people have meaningful or admirable accomplishments. When you over-praise a child for each tiny action, you dilute the potency of your attention. The focus shifts toward getting the “treat” by doing a “trick” for the parent. You want your child to enjoy the internal reward, the feeling of personal satisfaction. Timing your praise well and reducing excessive criticism will help you strike a good balance.
Create an environment where your children feel that they belong. Everyone has a special place in the family, and each person is valuable. School classmates can be cruel at times. Teachers sometimes give criticism to kids in their class. Your children may feel as if they can’t do anything right for anyone. Be sure your home is a place your children know they belong, no matter what. This makes it easier for them to cope with occasional feelings of loneliness and rejection.
Build a sense of “family team” in your home. Give age-appropriate chores to each of your children. Doing work for the good of all develops a child’s sense of purpose in a group. The ability to cooperate is essential to every family’s survival. Children learn what to do when they grow older and build their own families. When everyone works together, each person makes deposits in his or her self-esteem bank.
Self-esteem is just one part of a child’s character. The stronger a child’s self-esteem is the more easily he or she can handle the normal bruises of life. Children who think more highly of themselves are better equipped to make good choices. You are a mirror for your child; reflect the best of what is inside them.