How is your child’s self-esteem? In between the hustle and bustle of life, have you taken a moment to ask yourself this very important question? Does your child bounce back after a fall? Does she recognize her strengths? Does he have faith in his ability? As Purposeful Parenting Month continues let’s explore the importance of positive self-esteem.
We all have a desire to be known, accepted, and loved for who we truly are. We want to be valued ultimately for our personhood, rather than our achievements. As parents, we certainly want our children to know and feel love. We also want our children to feel capable of facing the world. This sense of capability cannot be developed without healthy self-esteem.
There are ways that we can encourage our children to love themselves. In doing so, we give them the ability to develop into well-rounded, fulfilled individuals.
Try the four tips below and watch with amazement as your child’s self-esteem soars:
1. Help your kids to see setbacks as temporary rather than as permanent.
This will aid in developing problem solving skills and build frustration tolerance. Normalize the concept of trying and failing (and repeating until successful). Remind your child that life is like a game of “Chutes and Ladders”—lots of ups and downs! Emphasize to your child that it’s not the fall that counts–it’s the getting up.
2. Praise your children often, and be genuine and specific.
Help your child learn about herself by sharing your observations of her strengths. Is she a fantastic writer? Does she excel at sports? Celebrate her for it. Let her know that everyone has things they’re good at and not so good at–and sometimes the things we’re not so good at might require extra effort. Remember to give praise for a job well done and the effort she put in (even when the outcome is disappointing, such as losing a game).
3. Model healthy self-esteem for your child by nurturing your own.
Children mirror a great deal of what they see in their environment. If your children hear you constantly criticizing or being hard on yourself, they are vulnerable to using that same critical voice with themselves. Model positive self-talk to your children. Let them hear you praise yourself so that it becomes normal for them to speak highly of their own efforts.
4. Make the most out of bedtime—use it as a time to bond and validate.
For young children, this is an excellent time to have some quiet reflection with one or both parents. This can be a time to review what happened during the day, as well as give awareness to your child’s feelings and any stress he’s experiencing. The attachment between parent and child is powerful in many ways, but the center of that child’s bonding experience is the ability to express feelings and have her parent validate and give comfort.
Did we miss something on our list? What things do you do to encourage your child? Share your thoughts in the comments or visit us on Facebook to continue the conversation.
The Stone Foundation is a team of counselors dedicated to seeing you and your children live your best and most fulfilling life. Contact us at 410.296.2004 or visit www.thestonefoundation.com to learn more. Please know that this article is intended for general, educational purposes only, and should not to take the place of professional counseling services or medical care.
Elicia McIntyre, a licensed clinical social worker, and graduate of Smith College School for Social Work, has 15 years’ experience providing counseling to adults, children and families in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. She has helped clients navigate life transitions, depression, anxiety and relationship difficulties. Elicia helps couples increase emotional intimacy, and foster healthy connections among family members. She has spent the past 3 years traveling nationally and overseas, providing education and intervention to military service members and their families on communication, stress management and building healthy relationships.