What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is our belief in ourselves. It is our belief in our abilities, our pride in what we achieve and drives our opinion of ourselves. When we have low self-esteem we lose all of that perspective and this then triggers negative behaviours.
Children are no different to adults in that without a healthy self-esteem a child will struggle throughout school, they will find it hard to make friends, won’t like to mix with new people and may involve self-harming behaviours in those that have suffered through childhood trauma.
A child with a healthy self-esteem will be one that willingly participates in sports and events. They will want to go out with friends and take part in activities. They will take pride in their appearance and in their school work and be able to cope with changes throughout their childhood.
To help your child to build a healthy self-esteem it is important that you teach them steps to take every day. Below are some ways to help build a child’s self-esteem:
- Teach them to appreciate their strengths. Explain and show them that we cannot all be good at everything but the things we are good at are our strengths and we should utilize those whenever we can.
- Remove negative self-talk. Lead by example in showing that negative self-talk serves no-one. Help your child to be objective about negative self-talk i.e. when they tell themselves they are not good at something, ask them to justify why they think that and tell them your opinion so they see another perspective. Negative self-talk is never healthy or helpful and most often incorrect.
- Don’t compare. Do not compare your child to yourself at their age or to anyone else’s child. Your child is unique and should be taught that this is all they need to be. Comparison only builds resentment and negativity.
- Gratitude. Teach your child to be grateful for all that they are and all they achieve and for their strengths.
- Communication. Use open communication with your child and teach them to share their thoughts and feelings so they are not bottling up emotions which in turn increases negative self-talk.
In the long run, a child with a healthy self-esteem will become a confident adult that is able to carry themselves throughout life and deal with everything that comes their way.