Everything in life is better when your self-esteem is high. Good things seem even better. Bad things are easier to tolerate and manage. The same is true for your child. A child with high self-esteem will do better in school, be more likely to avoid drugs and sexual activity, and be happier in general. Low self-esteem is a burden regardless of age.
As a parent, you have a tremendous influence on your child’s self-esteem. Make good use of that influence!
Help your child develop their self-esteem:
1. Create opportunities for your child to be successful. Give your child a meaningful task to do that you know will result in success. Success breeds confidence and additional success. Give your child regular opportunities to experience success.
2. Create a wall of fame. This can be a place to put trophies, report cards, favorite art work, ribbons, badges, and other awards. How could anyone not feel pride and confidence when a wall of fame is there for viewing each day?
3. Monitor your children’s friends. Some friends are more kind than others. Try to steer your child toward other children that are kind and supportive. Find a way to limit time spent with those children that are less supportive.
4. Give your child some control. It’s easier to have self-esteem when you feel in control of your life. The easiest way to avoid a battle is to give your child choices, but you create the choices. “Do you want a banana, apple, or orange in your lunch today?” is a better question than, “What do you want to eat?”
5. Love your child unconditionally. It’s a mistake to make a child feel less loved because of misbehavior or a mistake. Deal with poor behavior, but avoid withholding your love.
6. Pay attention to your child. Nothing sends the message, “You’re not important” as effectively as ignoring your child. Put your smart phone down and listen. Your child is more interesting anyway.
7. Teach that failure isn’t a big deal. It’s not something to get upset about or to avoid at all costs. It’s just a part of life. There’s always the opportunity to try again.
8. Give compliments and make them credible. Your child knows if his drawing of a horse actually looks like a pig. But you can find plenty of legitimate reasons to give your child compliments.
9. Set goals with your child and attain them together. The goal might be for your child to tie her own shoes or to get an A in algebra. Teach your child to work toward their goal each day.
10. Be confident. The more confident and comfortable you are in front of your child, the more secure they will feel. Your child is watching you for cues. If you’re obviously uncomfortable in certain situations, your child will be, too. Set a good example.
11. Address behavior, instead of your child. Saying that it’s wrong to lie is a better option than calling your child a liar. Avoid putting negative labels on your child.
12. Show love and affection regularly. Show your child that they are loved and appreciated every day.
It’s never too early to start boosting your child’s self-esteem. Providing a good foundation can prevent a lot of challenges in the teenage years. Act while your child is most impressionable. You can’t control every experience your child has, but you can control enough of them to make a huge difference.