How to build self-esteem in children
Self-esteem is how much people value themselves and how important they believe they are in their world. You might hear people talk about the importance of self-esteem in kids, and "positive self-esteem" in particular. But what exactly is it? And why does it matter so much? Simply put, positive self-esteem is when people have a positive self-outlook about themselves.
So why is self-esteem so crucial for children? Before we look at that, let’s quickly look at the consequences for negative self-in children. Children with negative self-esteem are likely to:
a) Feel frustrated, angry, anxious, or sad.
b) Lose interest in learning.
c) Have a hard time making and keeping friends.
d) Be more likely to be teased or bullied.
e) Become withdrawn or give in to peer pressure.
f) Develop self-defeating ways to deal with challenges, like quitting, avoidance, silliness, and denial.
Many children have trouble building and maintaining positive self-esteem for many reasons. One common rationale is when children struggle in school. If kids experience failure in school, they probably do not get positive feedback from adults or their classmates. The feedback they get is often negative because they’re constantly hearing about what they did not do well.
In some cases, they might get positive feedback that’s not sincere. It can make them mistrust the adults who are supposed to be helping them. Or they might become weary of the kids who are supposed to be their “friends.”
As a result, they feel less sure of themselves and their abilities. They may not feel motivated to try hard things for themselves and have difficulty dealing with mistakes. Deep down, they may not believe they’re worthy of good treatment or success.
On the other hand, children with positive self-esteem feel confident and capable. They value themselves and their abilities. They’re proud of what they can do and want to try their best. When kids are sure and secure about who they are, they’re more likely to have a growth mindset. That means they can motivate themselves to take on new challenges and cope with and learn from mistakes. They’re also more likely to stand up for themselves and ask for help when they need it. In addition to this, kids with positive self-esteem are more likely to:
a) Feel respected.
b) Be resilient and feel proud even when they make a mistake.
c) Have a sense of control over activities and events in their life.
d) Act independently.
e) Take responsibility for their actions.
f) Be comfortable and secure in forming relationships.
g) Have the courage to make good decisions, even in the face of peer pressure.
So how do children develop a sense of positive sense of self-esteem? Kids develop positive self-esteem by working hard toward a goal and repeatedly seeing their hard work pay off. Accomplishing things shows them they have what it takes to face new challenges. Their success makes them feel good about themselves, and they learn that it’s even OK to fail. When kids do well at something, it also pleases other people, like their friends and the adults who care about them. That feedback also makes them feel good. And over time, they continue to build positive self-esteem.
Parents can also play a massive role in helping build a child’s self-esteem. As children grow from infants to teens, and finally adults, they go through a series of developmental stages that influence every aspect of their personality, right from their social lives, their emotional well-being, to their intellectual awareness. In this journey of the continued growth of the young buds, the role of parents remains the most crucial. The parents provide them with the much-needed support, encouragement and enable them to access the activities to master critical development tasks. After all, to children, parents are the first teachers in life and the most important figures that they look up to for both motivation and inspiration. This is also true of a child's self-esteem. If you are a parent who is trying to help build their child’s self-esteem, try to keep the following tips in mind:
Step back and allow them to grow:
As it turns out, there are better ways to build self-esteem than heaping on praise for everything kids do. To do so, though, you must learn to step back and let your child take risks, make choices, solve problems and stick with what they start.
Over-praising children do more harm than good:
Self-esteem comes from feeling loved, being secure and developing competence. Although parents often shower their kids with the first two ingredients, competence/ becoming good at things, it takes time and effort. In fact, by over-praising kids, we’re doing more harm than good. If you keep telling your child she is already doing a fantastic job, you’re saying she no longer needs to push herself. Of course, this does not mean that we must be overly cynical about our child’s performance. Finding the right balance is key and will be beneficial for them in the long run.
Let your child take healthy risks:
Start by forcing yourself to stand back while your child takes healthy risks. To build confidence in the world, kids have to take chances, make choices, and take responsibility for themselves.
Let children make their own choices:
When kids make their own age-appropriate choices, they feel more powerful. Kids as young as two can start considering the consequences of their decisions.
Let them help around the house:
In building self-esteem, kids also need opportunities to demonstrate their competence and feel that their contribution is valuable. At home, that means asking them, even when they’re toddlers, to help with cooking, setting the table, and making beds.
Encouraging them to pursue their interests (fully):
Another surefire way to boost confidence in kids is to encourage them to take on tasks they show interest in, then make sure they follow through to completion. It does not matter what the task is. It could be anything from swimming laps to beating levels in video games. The point is for them to stick with what they start, so they feel that hit of accomplishment at the end.
Additionally, keeping the following things in mind when your child fails at a task or faces a setback in life might also help them build their self-esteem in the long run. As a parent, keep these things in mind when your child faces adversity, and it may help them later down the road:
a) Make clear that your love is unconditional.
b) Make sure your child’s goals are within reach, at a level appropriate for his ability.
c) Offer appropriate praise.