Your child’s self-esteem, or sense of self worth, begins at an early age. That means that you as a parent have the responsibility to make sure your child has a very healthy self-esteem. High self-esteem will serve your child well his whole life.
Where does your child get his self-esteem? Self-esteem, or self-worth, comes from the statements significant others say about your child. Parents and other relatives, teachers and friends can make statements about your child that will either give him a good or a bad opinion of himself. A child’s opinion of himself affects his future school progress, his relationships, and his confidence.
How can you boost your child’s self-esteem? There are several ways you can help.
Don’t ever compare your child with his siblings or other children. The act of comparison is one of the most devastating things you can do to lower your child’s self-esteem. Your child is faced with being compared to other children every day, especially in the school system. When he comes home to you, he needs to know that he does not have to measure up to anyone other than himself.
Give plenty of praise and encouragement. Every time you talk to your child, begin your talk with praise and encouragement. Even if you must speak to him about something he did wrong, begin with positive statements. You can speak to him about something he did wrong without tearing down his character.
If you must correct your child, don’t do it in front of others. It embarrasses the child to be scolded in front of his friends or other adults. If he needs to stop doing whatever he is doing immediately, have a private, quiet conversation with him and tell him to stop the behavior now and you’ll talk about it when you get home. Don’t embarrass the child or yourself with public reprimand.
Always make sure your child understands that you love him no matter what he has done. Your love for your child should never be withheld from him because of bad behavior. If his deed warrants constructive punishment, hug him and tell him you love him more than anything before you send him to his room. He may not understand now, but when he is older he will look back on these times of reprimand as your way of showing your love for him. Love is the most powerful booster of self-esteem.
We’ve discussed some things you can do to boost your child’s self-esteem. All of these actions can become a way a life for you and your child. You will be able to see the fruit of these actions in the years ahead.