Healthy Kids    

Help building your child's self-esteem

Two ways in which parents can help

How to build your child's self-esteem

Did you know that self-esteem is something that is both learned and something that we are born with?

The term "self-esteem" refers to people's evaluation of their own worth as human beings. Persons with high self-esteem think well of themselves. Those with low self-esteem have feelings of inferiority about themselves and about their abilities.

Young children develop a sense of their own self-worth (good or bad) mainly from interacting with their parents and other significant adults in their lives.

Parents who give their child positive messages ("I like what you just did") create feelings of positive self-esteem. Those who give mainly negative messages ("you're a dummy") create feelings of inferiority in their child.

READ MORE: A dose of self-esteem!

The early childhood years are a particularly important time for building self-esteem in children. Research studies indicate that children who have acquired high self-esteem by the time they enter school earn better grades, are more popular with their peers, and need less discipline at home and in school.

Here are two ways in which parents can help build self-esteem in their child.
  1. Try to pay attention to what your child wants to tell you - not just what you want to hear or what you want to say. He will know you are paying attention to him by your smile, eye contact, a pat on the back, or nodding of your head. Your interest in what he says will be demonstrated by your willingness to listen. Such non-verbal messages help to make your child feel important and valued.

  2. Become more aware of what you say to your child, when you say it and how you say it. Imagine your words and actions are being recorded. In that way you will see and hear yourself as your child sees and hears you. If you catch yourself saying or doing things that you wish you hadn't said or done, being aware of your own behavior will help you avoid doing the same thing again in the future.