Help Your Child Develop Strong Self-Esteem
As parents, it can be challenging to help your child with their self-confidence and self-esteem. You can't control the world they live in once they leave your care. School stress, peer problems and working with other adults can impact their self-esteem. There will be many cases in which other people or circumstances will make your child feel bad and bring their confidence down. You can help your child develop strong self-esteem by adjusting your parenting style.
There are many things you can do to help your child feel safe and comfortable. This means that they will be more likely to express their feelings and come to you for help. This is extremely important for developing self-esteem, as they are less likely to hold in worries and confusion. When they talk to you this is a perfect opportunity to help them develop strong self-esteem, if you communicate with them effectively (What Not to Say to Your Child to Develop Self-Esteem).
Parenting Tips to Help Your Child Develop Strong Self-Esteem
Give them space. Many parents see their upset child walk through the door and anxiously press them for details about their day. Don't be this parent. This makes your kid feel overwhelmed and actually pushes them away. Ask them if they want to talk and if they say no, let them take some time to themselves. Monitor your own anxiety and check in with them a little later. This allows them to sit with their emotions and shows them you trust that they can be alone with intense feelings, which, on a deep level, makes them realize they can manage them, which is huge for self-esteem development.
Validate their struggle. If you tell your child how to solve a problem or invalidate their current struggle, you aren't helping your child's self-esteem. Even if your intention isn't to do so, glossing over the feeling they are attempting to convey is invalidating and leads them to feel like you aren't hearing them.
For example: "I can't do math, I hate myself." This may be followed with, "Oh honey you are great at math, here let's do one at a time." This may not seem invalidating, but it is. "Don't be silly you are a talented child; I love you; don't say you hate yourself," totally glosses over what they are saying and makes light of their feelings.
Instead, try, "math can be really hard, tell me what part is hard for you?" Allow your child to hear that you agree with their challenges and also that you support them, instead of fixing it for them (which may imply you can't do this without help and can impact self-esteem greatly).
Praise the process. Your child comes home with a B+ on his project. Praising the grade has been ingrained in our minds for decades, but don't, at least not yet. “Your hard work on that project paid off! I'm so proud of you.” This lets him know that you notice how hard he is working.
Explain praise. Use phrases that can be generic but add your own unique twist. Rather than just “Good job!” try, “Good job cleaning your room; it looks great!” Adding what the praise is for helps a child feel accomplished and develops self-esteem.
Avoid barriers. Saying, "Why did you do that?" or "You should have . . ." Can put a huge barrier between you and your child. Instead, ask them what happened so that you get a better grasp of the situation.
For additional help with confidence check out Books That Build Confidence for Adults and Kids.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Roberts, E. (2015, February 6). Help Your Child Develop Strong Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/02/help-your-child-develop-strong-self-esteem
Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC
I really appreciate the point you make about actually explaining what the praise you are giving a child is for. Everyone loves praise, but knowing why we are receiving said praise can enhance the learning experience greatly. It doesn't take much to expand a praiseworthy accomplishment, and my wife and I will remember these when our children grow up a little more. Better yet we will just start now!
Thank you! Love your comment and keep up the good work. Never to early to start to praise the right things.
Take Good Care,