Have you ever come across a child with alarmingly low self-esteem?
Some signs that your child may suffer from poor self-image are if he/she practices negative self-talk, is unable to accept compliments, has problems with their peers, or demonstrates poor academic performance. Low self-esteem may also manifest itself when a child is unwilling to try new things or gives up easily.
As parents, you need to be aware that feelings of inferiority and incompetence also surface as a result of poor self-esteem.
On the flip side, children who have positive self-esteem are more likely to feel valued, competent and develop into happy, productive people. However, it’s not so easy to raise a confident child. To boost your child’s self-image, consider these eight important tips.
Stop comparing your child with others
Comparison is a common approach used by most parents in order to motivate their children. Yet, comparing your child with their siblings, friends or relatives will do more harm than good.
Negative messages such as “At your age, Justin can already solve fractions and play piano than you.” can be extremely damaging to a young person’s psyche. Furthermore, comparing a child to another can cause unhealthy competition or rivalry among siblings.
Let your child take healthy risks
Children with high self-esteem are willing to try new things without fear of failure. However, most parents will freak out if a child climbs too high on the playground. While none of us would ever wish for our child to be hurt, a little dosage of risk is essential to build your child’s self-esteem. Encourage your children to take chances, make smart choices and assume responsibility.
Ensure your child measures self-worth appropriately
It’s unfortunate that even children tend to determine self-worth because of their economic situation. Unlike children who came from affluent families, children who come from poor backgrounds may not be able to afford certain privileges such as toys and school excursions. Consequently, your child may then begin displaying feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-confidence. Therefore, it’s important to encourage your child to achieve his or her fullest potential, despite their lack of resources.
Have a dialogue with your child
Talk with your child regularly. You can discuss his or her performance at school, friends and anything else that may interest him. A quality conversation with your child is a great opportunity to explore what’s on your child’s mind. Whether it’s grabbing a bite to eat or taking a bike ride, try to schedule some alone time with your child at least once a week. Most importantly, encourage your child’s curiosity and treat him with respect.
Don’t be afraid to let your child make mistakes
Instead of scolding and criticizing your child, teach him/her that mistakes are learning experiences. The way you react to your child’s mistakes and disappointments colors the way he or she will react. When your child embraces the belief that there is no room for error, he or she will be reluctant to try to explore new things.
Because every child learns at a different pace, set reasonable expectations so your child will not be afraid of making mistakes. Also, encourage your child’s interests and talents—this allows your child to ascertain his or her individual skills, demonstrating that they are indeed capable of achieving success.
Let your child help around the house
Building self-esteem goes beyond getting good grades and excelling in music and arts, but also has a lot to do with developing a sense of responsibility. Our role as parents is to teach children about helping one another so they will be productive in the real world. In building self-esteem, your child might also need opportunities to demonstrate his/her competence and feel that their contribution is valuable.
Proper training must begin at home. Ask your child to assist with simple tasks around the house like cooking, washing the dishes, doing laundry, setting the table and making beds. Doing household chores may help your child feel that he or she is an important member of the family.
Positive self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. If parents desire to teach their children self-esteem, continual encouragement is required in order to help him/her achieve a healthy emotional well-being.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – (Proverbs 22:6)