Promoting Positive Self-Esteem in Children
Self-esteem can be very tenuous. As parents, when our children fail it is easy to take it personally. The same principles apply to parents building confidence as to children who are developing confidence in themselves.
Building greater confidence and self-esteem takes practice. But, the results are well worth the time and effort. Stronger confidence benefits you in every area of your life.
- Learn from mistakes and failure. It’s okay to fail. Failing is part of the learning process. This improves decision-making skills, enables one to think through long-term results of their choices, and accept feedback about their mistakes without feeling like a personal failure.
- Parents are also learning something new with each child. The process is the same – you learn from mistakes and failures.
- See mistakes and failures as tools for success. Confidence comes from learning to trust our instincts, skills, and abilities. It is gained over time through both success and failure. It requires taking risks and dealing with consequences.
- The more skilled our children become in making the right choices, the more confident they become.
- If you regularly use mistakes as a tool for success, when your kids do fail or miscalculate, they learn that it was the thinking or process that was faulty, not the person. The same applies to you as a parent.
- Never stop learning. Parents are teachers. Your job is to prepare your child to be a successful young adult. It starts day one and never ends. You are not always going to get it right – nobody does.
- Like your child, you learn as you do things and improve as you learn. Chances are that you’ll feel inadequate at times and make mistakes.
- Own it. Be open about your mistakes and talk to your child about the lessons learned. They will benefit as much from your candid discussions as anything else you do.
- Think positive thoughts about yourself. If you struggle with low self-esteem, it’s important that you get help with that. Seek out a therapist if you need to. Your behavior and how you treat yourself is what your child absorbs.
- If you stand in front of the mirror making negative comments about your body, berate yourself when you make a mistake, or judge others when they don’t meet your standards, your child will do the same.
- Learn to let it go. Move forward after you discuss lessons learned – yours and your child’s. It is information that you will use to calculate choices in the future.
- If you dwell on it or label yourself, your child will do the same. “I made a mistake” can become “I am a mistake” if internalized. Get help if you need it. Perfectionism leads to additional challenges that neither of you need.
Practice these techniques daily with your children. The more you practice, the easier these behaviors become. Once they become a habit, you and your children are well on the path to having an automatic process that supports greater confidence and self-esteem each day.