A person’s self-esteem is formed in childhood. Whether a child will like himself/herself as he/she is, whether he/she will consider himself/herself valuable and important in the future depends first on the parents and then on the environment. How to support the child in building a positive self-image? How to strengthen his/her self-esteem?
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is often mistakenly equated with self-assessment. Self-esteem is related to the cognitive aspect – it is a recognition of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It can be stable, low or high, but it is different from self-esteem. It can even happen that a high opinion of oneself, i.e., inflated self-esteem, can compensate for low self-esteem.
Self-esteem is an attitude toward myself related to who I am, not my knowledge or skills. It is self-respect, self-acceptance, and a sense that one is important and deserving of happiness. A child with low self-esteem will have difficulty expressing themselves, showing emotions, setting goals and achieving them, and pursuing happiness
A child’s self-esteem
Every parent wants happiness for their child. To equip them with the tools to lead a good life, parents can influence their child’s self-esteem. How can you strengthen it and reassure your child that he or she is a valuable person? Here are 7 tips for fostering self-esteem in your child.
1. Always assure your child of your love
Especially when he/she makes mistakes or experiences even the slightest failure, show him/her love and acceptance, reassure him/her that he/she is loved regardless of his/her successes or failures.
2. Teach your child to express his/her emotions
By communicating your emotions, you teach your child to express his own. This is a way to show him that naming his emotions and expressing his feelings helps in mutual understanding and relationships
3. Accept your child as he or she is
Don’t compare your child to others, don’t say “your sister at this age could already do this…”, don’t pin labels. Accept the child’s abilities and interests and let him/her develop them.
4. Appreciate, but do not praise too much
Appreciate your child’s efforts, regardless of the results, but don’t praise him or her excessively. Over-praise and constant praise can do harm. Emphasize the value of the child’s work and efforts more than the end result
5. Provide opportunities for decision-making
Situations in which you encourage your child to make choices communicate that you trust him and instill confidence in his own competence
6. Set limits, but do not be authoritarian
Letting your child do everything is not good for him. Setting limits affects his sense of security. However, by shouting prohibitions or depressing messages, you weaken his self-esteem. By showing your child where the boundaries are, help him/her understand, e.g. why you don’t let him/her shout in the supermarket or take away other children’s toys in the park.
7. Encourage cooperation
The most appropriate activity for a child is not always play. Inviting him or her to do things that adults at home do together will give him or her a sense of belonging and importance. Try involving your child in cooking or cleaning together – make them feel that they are needed and that their help matters.
Main photo: Adam Winger/unsplash.com