I think far too often a child's self esteem is one of the things that easily slips parents minds (when you get home from a long day at work and your child shows you the 100th drawing of a koala bear, it is hard to still be excited to see it). However, a positive self esteem is crucial for proper emotional development. Self esteem begins developing when a child is an infant and their caregivers hold and smile at them. It continues to grow as a toddler when they wish to do various tasks themselves and begins to conquer milestones. Even on the worst of days, children look to adults, especially parents, for what they deserve and if they are important. Many parents, when thinking about their child's self esteem, will go too far and try to shelter their child from any failure or negativity. This can actually inhibit your child's ability to problem solve and cope with failure in the future.
Below are some ways you can help improve your child's self esteem:
- Praise when your child puts forth effort in something (they may not always succeed, but the endurance is far more beneficial in the long run).
- Be honest with them about your own fears and shortcomings. As long as it is age appropriate matters you are discussing, a child needs to see that other people fail and hurt, but they keep going. (Refrain from discussing things like money, disagreements with other caregivers, etc).
- Remind your child that your love for them is not dependent on success.
- Set developmentally realistic goals for your child.
I Like Myself By: Karen Beaumont Giraffes Can't Dance By: Giles Andreae Written by Allison Bates, LAPC Licensed Associate Professional Counselor
Now matter how you encourage and support your child, are you worried about their self-esteem. We work with children ages 3 through adolescents with sadness, depression, self-esteem, identity, friendships, and coping with stress and future planning.