Children are never too young to start developing their self-esteem. According to parenting expert Dr. William Sears, parents are the key players when it comes to establishing a child’s self-worth — an inner strength that can affect social happiness, mental health and the ability to handle difficult situations. Ensure your behavior teaches your children to value themselves and develop a strong sense of self-respect.
Teach your children that they are important by giving them your complete attention when you’re spending time together. Rather than checking messages on your cell phone or watching television when you’re supposed to be reading your child a story, eliminate any distractions, make direct eye contact with your child and truly listen to what she has to say. Dr. Sears states that your concentration will teach your child that she’s valuable and worthy of your attention.
When your child does something against the rules, turn the situation into a positive learning experience rather than berating him and potentially damaging his self-esteem. Education.com stresses that you can keep your child’s self-respect intact by criticizing his behavior and not his character. Instead of calling him a “bad boy” for kicking his sister, tell him it’s wrong to kick people because it hurts them. In addition, Erin O’Hearn of the Parenting Perspective for ABC News notes that you can turn a misdeed into an opportunity to build your child’s self-esteem. If your child draws on the wall, tell him that he should only draw on paper, hand him a coloring book and then praise him for the artwork he completes in the proper place.
Boost your child’s self-esteem by encouraging her to try new activities to develop a variety of skills and learn to complete tasks on her own. As your child is trying something new, such as tying her shoes or learning to ride a tricycle, Better Homes and Gardens notes that it’s important to avoid jumping in to help immediately if she becomes frustrated. Instead, let her try to work out any issues on her own — as long as she’s not in danger — so she learns that she is capable of solving problems without your assistance.
Set an Example
Children study what their parents say and do, so it’s vital for you to demonstrate a healthy self-esteem to be a positive role model. KidsHealth notes that your child may start to doubt his own self-worth if you are constantly doubting your own talents and abilities. Instead of criticizing yourself, simply admit when you’ve made a mistake or can’t complete a task. Showing your child that you can rebound from problems quickly will teach him that we all have shortcomings that shouldn’t damage our self-respect.