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How can parents build their children's self-esteem?
Simply described, self-esteem is how we see ourselves. We have high self-esteem if we like the picture we have of ourselves.
The home environment is the greatest single factor in developing children's self esteem. What steps can parents take to build their children's self-esteem?
I can share what I've learned about this critical lesson because I've made mistakes with my own children in this area. First, be a role model of positive self-esteem. They learn from your very life including your attitudes and behavior. I'm sad to say that some of my own low self-esteem was transferred to them.
Second, provide them opportunities to build their own strengths and experience successes. This means allowing them to try a lot of new things, failing at them and realizing that they have the ability to learn from and overcome hurdles. This way, they come into their own power. I used to rescue my children too quickly before they could stand up and brush themselves off by themselves.
Third, encourage them to push through the hard times of practicing skills. Practice, repetition, is the mother of all skill. I would rush in to do things for them so they never experienced the feeling of accomplishment after hard work.
My well-meaning actions crippled them. The good news is that it is never too late to rebuild, and now that I've got my own self-esteem act together, they're doing the same. They're adults now and I'm happy to say that they've experienced opportunities to feel good about their skills and talents. We discuss this matter often and recognize that feeling good about oneself can't come from the outside even though accomplishments help. We feel good about who we are simply from the very virtue of this privilege of being a human being and experienced this grand life adventure.
Yikes. Sorry for the grammatical error. Should reread before posting.
Thank you Lori P. Your points are well taken. Helping our kids to learn valuable lessons from challenging situations prepares them for life.
The general train of thought has been to find something the child is good at and encourage them. It sounds good, but I am not sure that's the way to go because this is basically giving the child the message that they are of more value if they can do something well. A child needs to know he's of value because of who he is not what he can do, or his abilities.
I have seen families where one child is a gifted piano player, another excels at sports, and the other has no particular external, popular or well esteemed passion or gift. The parent then enrolls them in this thing then that thing and the child is not good at those, or has not interest, so continues to feel bad because the to her kids gets so much attention for their ability. If the child finds something he's gifted at, he often pressures himself to be perfect to keep up with the sibling.
My feeling is that kids with special gifts, talents, or abilities should be recognized much more for their character or just who they are. Perhaps the football player is a good sport and a team player. That's character and more special than being able to get the most touch downs. They also need to be told they though they are exceedingly good at what they do it does not make them more special.
We need to demonstrate love and appreciation for the child just because they are precious.
I think parents need to be careful not to tell the child they love as a reward for obeying or doing something good. They need to hear their obedience and cooperation are appreciated. I love you is of course an essential a child needs to hear it a lot and shown it. But I knew a mom who whenever her child obeyed, or did something well would hug them and say "Aw, I love you." The kid thought in order to be loved he had to do something to earn it. If the child does well, let them know and do the I love you's at other times. Just my thoughts. This is a good question you ask. I like what Lori P said about role modeling. Essential also.
I believe in letting a child do things for themselves. Show they how to so something, the let them try it. They learn so much and feel so good when they get that task done. And keep criticism to a minimum and use it only when it can be helpful.
Give the child genuine praise on the tasks, good work, etc. that they do and do not give false praise...kids see right through it and when everything they ever do is praised, their real successes don't feel as good because they've heard the praise all along.
And love the unconditionally....and never without hold love or affection from them.
Children Learn from what they see and hear. So if you have a good self- esteem. They will pick it up too. Some of these things take years to learn so when you are around your children or out any where. Always try to have a good sel-esteem about you. Your children will pick it up over time. But if for years they see you with low self-esteem well you know what will happen, and it is almost impossible to turn things around.
Parents can love their children
Praise their children
Always discuss how good they are at their daily activities
Make children happy when playing together
Put them on a pedestal no matter what
Never pick and choose between two kids
Treat children alike
Always tell children they are the best for you and they are capable of doing more.
Build a child's character positively
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