Building Self-Esteem in Children
Building Self-Esteem in Children
Parents need to help children build self-esteem because it forms the foundation of many
wonderful qualities later in life.
There are many things that parents can do to help their children build and boost self-esteem. And this
practice should start when the child is still a baby. Here are some parenting advice to help children
develop a healthy self-image and good self-worth.
Love the Child Unconditionally from the Start
According to Ken and Elizabeth Mellor, parent educators and authors of Easy Parenting [Sydney: Finch
Publishing, 2001], the foundations of good self-esteem are laid from the beginning of a child’s life.
“Babies who are loved with complete, loving acceptance are well on the way to developing good self-esteem. Children loved like this are able to withstand all sorts of trials and tribulations,” they write.
Provide Guidance and Conditional Acceptance
As the child grows older, it’s crucial to guide the child to behave well with others. If he behaves in ways acceptable to society, praise him. If he doesn’t, try to discourage him from behaving in such ways again. The important thing is to let the child know that Mum and Dad love him but dislike the certain bad behavior he displays.
The Mellors stress that children who are guided well will get clear messages about what is good behavior and what is not. And that knowledge will make them feel confident with other people because they know where they stand with others.
Teach the Child Basic Living Skills
Having and mastering certain living skills also helps in developing self-esteem. Simple things like putting on clothes, tying shoe laces, brushing teeth and performing morning rituals can be taught to preschoolers. When the child manages to carry out one task successfully, shower him with praises and encourage him to take on new skills or challenges. However, be sure not to push the child to master skills that are beyond his age and abilities. This will only lead to frustration and even make him lose confidence in himself.
Help the Child set Goals
Parents can also help boost a child’s self-confidence by setting certain goals at home, at school or within the community. Use a special chart and write down things to accomplish, for example – not fighting with younger sister, learning the times table, putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket, walking the dog without being told – within a time-frame. Review what’s been done at the end of the time period. If the child has managed to reach the goals set, a little reward will do wonders to his self-esteem.
Get the Child to Do some Housework
Give the child responsibilities at home that fit his age skills. This will help him develop a sense of making worthwhile contributions to his family. This sense of achievement will in turn boost his self-esteem. So give the child some easy chores – raking leaves in the garden, drying dishes, folding clothes and feeding the cat are simple tasks a child can carry out.
Spend Quality Time with the Child
Ken and Elizabeth Mellor say that most children with good self-esteem also have a sense of belonging. This is experienced as being important to somebody. To give a child a real sense of belonging, parents should be actively involved in the child and be accessible to the child at all times. In other words, parents should spend as much time as they can with the child.
In a nutshell, parents can help children build self-esteem by loving them completely, guiding them to behave well with others, teaching them skills they need, helping them set goals, giving them chores at home and spending quality time with them.