Healthy Kids    

Child Behavior: Learn to foster healthy self-esteem in your child

Health tips to promote great development

Health tips to promote great development

Self-esteem is considered to be among the most important aspects of self-development. A child’s evaluation of his own competencies and value affects his current emotional experiences as well as his future behavior. There is a strong connection between a child’s ‘self review’ of worth and his long-term psychological adjustment.


Children begin to self-evaluate early. By around age two children will call attention to, and feel good about, something they have achieved, like stacking a set of blocks. They are likely to smile when they succeed at a task that an adult sets for them, and frown or walk away when they fail.

READ MORE: 8 tips to boost your daughter's self esteem

Self esteem is complex

The dimensions of self-esteem become increasingly complex as a child ages. By a child’s pre-teen years, self-esteem will include task competence, social competence (relationship with peers and parents) as well as a more sophisticated level of perceiving one’s self (physical competence and physical appearance).


As the child ages into adolescence, new dimensions of self-esteem are added: close friendships, romantic appeal, job competence, and a realistic appraisal of the child’s future.


READ MORE: How early friendships affect development

Sometimes a child’s self-esteem can appear to fluctuate depending on the child’s own evaluation of his performance and feedback he receives from peers or parents. The goal is to try to enhance the development of resiliency so that as the child grows up, he possesses the capacity to face life’s challenges and setbacks with success.

 Paul Schwartz, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and education at Mount Saint Mary College

Other articles by Paul Schwartz