As a parent, do you want your children to grow and develop into happy, confident individuals?
Have you thought about ways to help them achieve this goal?
If you answered yes to both questions, then we’re on the same page already.
Granted, you and I both know that every child is different and even children from the same family have variable needs and challenges. An important one being self-esteem, a universally important trait for every child.
So what is self-esteem?
To simplify it, it’s all about the way you feel about yourself. Self-esteem is a child’s passport to a lifetime of mental health and social happiness. It is also the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key component to success in adulthood.
When children feel confident and happy about themselves, it’s a good indication that they have a good level of self-esteem instilled within them. However, children who feel like they’re not liked or loved by family members or peer groups or second guess their abilities, usually have low levels of self-esteem. How a child feels will usually determine how they act.
Contrary to some of the suggestions I’ve heard from other parents, I don’t believe that self-esteem comes from telling children how special and wonderful they are (although it can play a small part). Self-esteem comes as part of a process in which a child feels capable, effective and accepted.
- When a child learns a new skill and feels proud of what they’ve learnt, they feel capable.
- A child feels effective when they see how their efforts contribute towards a goal or make progress, such as a school charity fundraiser to buy wheelchairs for children with disabilities. Taking part in such a project can help them see how much their actions matter.
- When a child feels accepted and understood by parents or close family, they are likely to accept themselves too. Feeling good about themselves can come from parents endorsing positive behaviour (notice I didn’t use the word good), help when needed and provide encouragement and support.
Now of course, none of this happens overnight, but throughout a child’s life and serves different purposes at different stages. If we look at babies for examples, they develop a level of perseverance through the effort of learning how to roll over, sit, stand and walk on their own after repeated efforts. Toddlers go on to reach developmental milestones of using the toilet, dressing themselves and feeding themselves, which gives them the confidence to reach even more milestones. As children get older, relationships with their peers and other adults play a key role in developing their self-esteem.
Why is it important?
Well, I’m sure you’ve figured it out already. Self-esteem is important because of the way in which it directly has an impact on the way children act every day. Their self-esteem will affect their friendships with others, success at school, the ability to deal with problems and their overall confidence.
Helping your child to develop a good level of self-esteem will ensure that they are better equipped to deal with peer pressure and responsibility as opposed to them feeling bad about themselves. Children who have good levels of self-esteem are also better at dealing with strong emotions both negative and positive (again, I’m trying to stray away from good and bad) and to also cope with challenges and frustrations when they arise.
So what am I trying to say?
– Praise your children when they exhibit positive efforts or succeed in an activity.
– Avoid criticism that incorporates shame or mockery.
– Encourage your child to think about decisions and their consequences.
– Allow them to try to solve their own problems as opposed to quickly jumping in to help them.
As a parent do you try to adopt any of these methods into your style of parenting or are there some new ones you could teach me?
Do let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading!