Healthy Kids    

Child Behavior: What makes a "great kid"? Part Six

Self-Esteem - possessing self awareness

In one of Dr. Schwartz’s columns in Hudson Valley Parent magazine, he discusses the 10 qualities of “great kids.” Here’s one quality that kids need to develop in order to lead a happy, healthy life while being able to face the challenges of the 21st century. Come back tomorrow for another “great kid” quality!


Self-Esteem (possessing self awareness): Real confidence stems from a healthy understanding of and a positive feeling about who we are. A healthy realistic sense of self-esteem comes not from a child continuously receiving warm but empty praise (getting “good job, good job” for everything that he does), but rather by being confronted with and overcoming obstacles and challenges. The more challenges a child faces and overcomes, the more likely he will feel good about himself and his “real” abilities. Genuine self-esteem is what allows us not only to cope effectively with life’s challenges but also to continuously seek new growth-enhancing challenges to overcome and master.


Paul Schwartz, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Education at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. He is available for group speaking engagements. He can be reached at