Building Your Child’s Self Esteem

 

It’s one of those things that all parents want to provide for their children and one of those things that many feel they do not know how to do: raise a self-confident child. Self-esteem oftentimes seems like a fragile, distant thing that we all know what it is but don’t know how to develop. Your self-esteem is a compilation of how you feel about yourself. It encompasses everything from your confidence in relationships, to your body image, to your work life. So how do you foster this “thing” in your children?

 

We teach our children “honesty is the best policy.” This applies to how we deal with our children as much as it does expecting them to be honest with us. When it comes to your child’s self-esteem, he or she will know or be able to sense if you are not being honest. For example, if art is not your child’s top skill, don’t say that his or her drawing is the best you’ve ever seen. Your child will know it’s not, and will not believe you the next time you say something meant to be positive, no matter how honest it is. Instead, tell your child something genuine about the piece or the effort. Make non-judgmental statements such as, “You really used your imagination in making the flowers many different colors.” This simply states your observation, rather than a false statement.

 

Also, understand that your child and your child’s behavior are two separate things. This can be very hard to remember, particularly when your child is acting out in ways that make you crazy or that are unsafe. However, when you discipline your child for the behavior rather than the person, you can positively influence and foster self esteem. Why? If your child feels that you are mad, because of who he or she is as a person rather than for the behavior, this can negatively affect your child’s self-esteem. Using “I” statements helps with this. Say something like, “I don’t like it when you leave your toys scattered all over the floor,” which also addresses the behavior, rather than, “You are a slob,” which attacks their character.

 

Let your child make some decisions. Children are in a situation where everyone else is constantly telling them what to do, when to do it, where to go, and more. When children are allowed to make some choices, even if it’s something small, they learn to be self-reliant. You don’t want your children growing up feeling dependent on others for direction. Simple choices such as what to wear (you can offer two or three choices) or choosing a special lunch item will foster your child’s being able to think independently.

 

Encourage your children to try new things. While there’s nothing wrong with encouraging your child’s talents–this will help build self-confidence as well–it’s also important that your children learn to experiment. Trying new things helps everyone overcome fears of the unknown and helps us learn to deal with success and failure. If a child never learns to try new things, this can create problems later in life. After all, most people do not live in world where everything is the same day after day. Life is constantly changing, whether it’s a move to a new city or starting a new career. If children are experienced at trying new things, even if small, life’s bigger transitions will be much easier–such as leaving for college and starting a career.

 

Grow Your Self Esteem With These 4 Tips

Most of us could use a bit of a self-esteem boost every once in a while.

Self-esteem is all about how we feel about ourselves. When we have low self-esteem, we can be at risk for depression, we can be more prone to tolerating abusive behavior and relationships, and we can fail to live up to our true potential.

 

There can also be cons to self-esteem. For example, when a person’s sense of self worth is much too high, it can turn into arrogance or what is termed ‘narcissism’, and this can create problems. Such people can find it difficult to accept and learn from their own mistakes and can develop a false sense of entitlement.

Developing a balanced level of self-esteem is very important. For some, a healthy, high self-esteem develops naturally. But for others, developing a healthy self-esteem takes more work. Check out the following pointers to give your self-esteem a kick start.

1. Draw up a list of your good qualities – For some individuals with really low self-esteem, even contemplating making a list of their good qualities seems like an overwhelming task, but it can be extremely helpful for boosting self-esteem. If you find this task challenging, consider what other people say about you. What positive compliments have you ever been given? Start with those and then expand on this. Jot your good qualities down using “I” and the present tense. For example, “I am a kind and generous person.”

2. Regular affirmations – Take another peek at the list you made. Choose your favorite qualities to use to do regular affirmations. Take those statements and jot them down on notecards and stickie notes. Stick the notes where you will notice them everyday, such as on your computer screen, mirror, or refrigerator. When you see them, take a minute to repeat them several times to yourself. Place notecards in your pocket or wallet where you are sure to come across them on a regular basis. When this happens, take a moment to read them to yourself a few times. After a while you can change out some of your best qualities for some of the other qualities on your list.

3. Gain some perspective – People often don’t talk about their challenges, failures, and struggles in life, but that’s not because they don’t have them. How we decide to approach these things will directly influence levels of self-esteem, happiness and success. The most successful and confident people in life aren’t those who have had few problems and challenges, they are those who have seen them as just a part of life and have pushed ahead anyway, learning as they go. Your failures don’t mean that you are a failure, they just mean you need to reassess the situation and the way you approach it and come at it from another angle.

4. Make yourself the priority – Part of boosting your self-worth is accepting you are worthy of your own love. Make time for yourself. Take care of yourself when you’re passing through a difficult time. Say ‘no’ when you have to and don’t feel bad about it. Make your needs clear to other people and ask for what you need. (If you have real difficulty saying ‘no’, then look for some assertiveness training, or get a book on the subject.)

Employ these 4 simple tips and you will be well on your way to boosting your self-esteem. Above all, remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself just as much love as you give to the important people in your life. You absolutely deserve it!

Author
Peter Field is the author of ‘The Chi of Change’ hypnotherapy book. Information of 1-2-1 sessions can be found on his hypnotherapy in Birmingham website.