One of the most important tasks that a parent has is revealing to their child who he/she is and what they can do. Self-esteem is the internal value a person has for themselves. A child that has a healthy self-esteem has confidence and regards himself highly; a good parent should also teach humility to combat arrogance! A child with low self-esteem will struggle with feeling inferior and worthless; they will feel that others don’t like them because they don’t like themselves. The main contributors that affect a child’s self-esteem are the child’s parents (or primary guardians). Here are 4 ways to build your child’s self-esteem.
Credit: morguefile.comWhen we show approval to our child, they realize that you are accepting something they have said or done as satisfactory. Every person needs approval from those who are important to them; approval is a fundamental emotional need and we are attracted to people who have given us strong approval (and repelled by those who do not). For children, approval is a lifeline – a connection to their parents that helps them move forward with confidence. Parents need to be intentional in showing or verbalizing approval.
Affirming our children happens when we make a positive declaration about them – and they hear it. Compliment their outward appearance is fine, but affirming what is on the inside carries greater value. When we see the diamonds within them and we hold them up for them to see, they realize that you value WHO THEY ARE. Our children can pick up on our values and opinions, and that includes what we think about them. Affirm who they are and praise what they do.
Depending on the age of your child, certain responsibilities need to be given in order for them to feel like they are contributing to the family. In other words: chores! When a chore is assigned, proper instruction must be given. When a chore is done effectively, we need to express our appreciation for a job well done. There are other instances when our child will go above and beyond what has been asked or assigned, and we need to make sure that we acknowledge their work and show appreciation.
Offering words of encouragement differs from giving words of affirmation. While affirmation deals with what we see on the inside, encouraging words relate to what we see our children do and speak value into it. Our encouraging words motivate our children to keep moving forward and it helps them see that you are aware of something that is important to them. Standing alongside them as they do what they enjoy (sports, hobbies, etc…) also communicates encouragement.
When children fall short in an accomplishment, the words of affirmation, appreciation and encouragement that parents have given to them in the past will help them to push through and not give up. Each child is “wired” differently, so certain words or techniques will not work from child to child. However, every child – regardless of age - needs these 4 ways to build self-esteem.