Building self esteem in children is an ongoing process and starts early. As parents we don’t always get it right, but as long as you can remember to praise, listen and enforce boundaries in a positive way this will hopefully ensure that your child knows your door will always be open and that you will never withdraw your love and support.
You can help to build your child’s self esteem by letting them know how well they have done and how proud you are of them. Don’t just say this, use descriptive words to ensure that they understand why you are pleased. Even though they might feel embarrassed talking to you they need to know that you are there to listen and support, not judge them for feeling the way they do at times.
When your child feels they have failed or have been rejected try to find something good out of the experience to praise them for. This could be the amount of effort they put in, or the dedication they showed to a project. Engage with the about changes that they might be able to make in the future and what they have learned from the experience.
If you are struggling to accept the way your child is behaving and you think that low self esteem could be responsible for this, remind yourself that it is their behaviour you don’t like, not them as people. Remember too that as children get older their self esteem can dip as they hit puberty.They have the additional worry of coping with mood swings and changes within their body that they may not be entirely happy with.
If you think your child is suffering with low self esteem think about what might have affected your child such as:
If you continue to be concerned talk to their teacher as it is always helpful to keep communication lines open with the school and they might be able to shed some light on any problems at school.
As a parent, you have a major part to play in ensuring that your children grown up feeling confident, secure and loved. How you deal with failure and upset will undoubtedly reflect on your own children. Children need to understand that failure is part and parcel of life and that it doesn’t always go according to plan.
We all make mistakes, no one is perfect so showing your child that you can dust yourself down and start again will set a good example and help them to understand that we can learn from mistakes and move forward.