Self-esteem is how a person feels about oneself, both inside and out. People with a positive outlook, confidence and who accept themselves tend to have a good self-esteem.
But having good self-esteem doesn’t mean a person is conceited or self-centered. It means appreciating your own self-worth and importance, taking responsibility for your actions, and showing respect and care for others.
Children with positive self-esteem will exhibit the following signs. Most of the time, they-
- are happy
- make friends easily
- enjoy social activities
- are enthusiastic about new activities
- can play alone as well as with other children
- like to be creative and have their own ideas and
- talk comfortably with others without much encouragement.
Various signs of children with low self-esteem include:
- having few friends
- being easily frustrated or discouraged
- being unwilling to try new things
- having trouble following rules or behaving well
- being withdrawn or depressed, or
- saying “I can’t” a lot.
It is important to note that if your child doesn’t always want to be with others, it doesn’t mean she has low self-esteem. Spending time alone is a good skill and important to mental health.
What is the importance of self-esteem?
Your child’s self-esteem affects how well he does his day to day activities. It affects his relationships not only with you but also with others and has an impact on how he performs at school and in social situations. Later in life, it will affect how he performs in the workplace.
Positive self-esteem helps children:
- Have the courage to be oneself,
- Believe in one’s values,
- Make the right decisions under pressure,
- Interact with others,
- Handle stress and life’s challenges,
- Make healthier choices and
- Feel confident in saying “no” to dangerous activities.
How does self-esteem develop?
Positive self-esteem begins with your child’s healthy attachment to you. It begins as early as the time of birth, and continues eve after your child grows and develops.
Feeling loved and accepted helps boost a child’s self-esteem. When you take good care of your baby, it helps her feel appreciated and valued. When you play with your child and help her learn, she becomes more self-confident and willing to try new things. When your child goes to school and does well on a test, or while playing a sport, a small act of your praise and encouragement helps her to feel proud of what she’s done.
What can I do to help foster my child’s self-esteem?
- It is important thing to show your child a lot of love, affection and acceptance. Show him that you love him by spending time with him and by hugging him to show your affection
- It requires efforts but be a role model to your child. Show him what it means to love yourself, be willing to do and try new things, and teach him how to cope with set-backs or challenges by practical examples. Teach your child the importance of patience, persistence and doing things as well as you can.
- Focus on your child by playing with her and listening when she talks. Pay attention to your child’s activities, projects, or problems. Let her guide play, and be willing to do the things she wants to do.
- Be regular and consistent. Decide on and enforce clear rules and limits that are right for your child’s age and stage. Tell him what your expectations are and what the consequences follow if the rules aren’t heeded. This helps him feel safe and secure, and grow more confident about making his own decisions.
- Tell your child you are happy when she cooperates or helps you, follows rules, or does other positive things. Explain what you like about her behavior.
- Help your child explore and find something he is good at and enjoys. Understand, appreciate and respect that he will be really good at some activities and not good at others.
- Support your child and genuinely praise her actions. Encourage her to try new things, and tell her you are proud of her effort, whether she was successful or not. But don’t pamper by over-praising every accomplishment, because it will only take away from the things she succeeds at and that took real effort. Remind her that learning new skills takes time and practice, and that no one can master everything. You can also talk about your own experiences of successes and failures and what you’ve learned from them.
- Help your child learn from his mistakes. Talk about what can be done differently next time, what can be taken away from each experience and how he can control his own behavior.
- Assign your child a certain set of responsibilities and provide opportunities to contribute in the home. For example, assign family chores, or ask for help preparing dinner. This teaches your child that she’s important.
- Offer a set of choices and the chance to solve problems so that your child learns that he has control over his life and can make decisions whenever needed.
- Create a safe, affectionate home environment where your children can feel comfortable, secure and happy. Completely avoid fighting or arguing with your partner in front of your children, and always respect your children.