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Six Easy Ways to Build Your Child's Self Esteem

Jul 8, 2008
What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the collection of beliefs or feelings that we have about ourselves, or our 'self perceptions.' How we define ourselves influences our motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, and affects our emotional judgment.

Self-esteem includes other qualities, such as self-confidence, pride, independence, self-reliance, and self-respect. Experts say we develop our self-esteem during childhood, and it constantly evolves as we are shaped by the different social interactions and experiences we go through.

A child with high self-esteem is the most important way to ensure his or her own personal safety. Keeping them away from physical harm comes afterward.

Positive interactions and relationships with parents, teachers, and other adults is the basis for good self-esteem in children. These adults can influence children's self-esteem by giving constructive and positive feedback to children when they accomplish a task. A "Congratulations" or "Nice job" is all it takes to build this vital skill.

But praise and positive reinforcement alone will not make children feel better automatically. Providing them with lots of love, care, and understanding is equally significant. Children who are happy and confident may still experience low self-esteem because they do not feel loved. Likewise, children who are loved and pampered at home may still feel inadequate and incompetent, thus ending up with low self-esteem. Hence, a balance of both should be present.

Giving constructive communication, positive messages, and carefully delivering criticism will lead to good self-esteem. Use these tips to improve a child's self-perceptions.

1. Limit the "Don'ts" to the barest minimum. State your requests positively. Too many negative words in your sentences will only lead to a child's self doubt.

2. Listen to your child. Parents often make the mistake of thinking their words are more important than their child, which makes child has lower self-esteem.

3. Get on their level. If you are talking to a toddler, you should kneel down to speak to them. The child should be able to see your face without straining to look up.

4. Make sure you have conversations One person shouldn't do all the talking. Likewise, kids must learn only one person should talk at a time. Everyone can't speak at once. Make sure they know that if more than one person is trying to talk, they won't understand a thing.

5. Keep a calm, uncritical, and non-irritable manner when explaining. Keep your "speech" concise. Use language that kids will easily understand, explaining to them what they need to do, and why they should or should not do it. Speaking in a calm tone also keeps panic from rising within them.

6. Criticisms should still be present. We should also take notice of shortcomings or misbehavior as we see it or learn about it. Explain why an action is not acceptable, and allow kids to think of ways to avoid doing it again.
About the Author
Abel Cheng is a father of two. Find out how to raise happy children with his insightful parenting tips found on his parenting blog.
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