Raising Children with Positive Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is a concept that is receiving more and more attention. While the term is sometimes treated somewhat vaguely or ambiguously, it’s actually one of the fundamental building blocks of a healthy and well-adapted personality. That’s why we want to share some information about raising children with positive self-esteem.
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is the conjunction of perceptions, thoughts, feelings and judgments we have towards ourselves. It’s what I think and feel about myself and the level of satisfaction that I have regarding who I am.
Self-esteem isn’t something innate. In other words, we aren’t born with it. Rather, it’s a concept that develops over the course of our entire lives and that can be modified. Even if a child has a low self-esteem, we can help to improve it.
Why is having positive self-esteem so important?
Many times we’ve heard the phrase “Love your neighbor as yourself.” However, for some reason and far too often, we forget the last two words. We forget that loving ourselves is the first and indispensable part .
Children with positive self-esteem
- Children with positive self-esteem feel valued accepted and safe. They have the confidence they need to try new things and explore their surroundings.
- This faith in their own abilities motivates them to make their best effort when facing a new task. It also helps them feel proud of what they’re able to do.
- Children with positive self-esteem know how to tolerate frustration when things don’t work out the first time around. They’re able to adapt and to try again. Rather than viewing their mistakes as personal failures, they accept them as part of the learning process. Therefore, they’re less hard on themselves.
- This way of seeing life leads them to have higher performance. This is true not only at school, but on a social and familial level as well.
Children with low self-esteem
- Children with low self-esteem lack confidence in themselves and feel insecure. They feel they’re less than others, doubt their own abilities, and tend to focus on negative aspects.
- When it comes to trying new places and activities, they’re quick to give up or not even try. This is because they have a hard time managing mistakes and failures. They can be highly critical and unforgiving of themselves.
- As a result, they don’t perform as well as they could in certain areas of their lives. In other words, fear keeps them from reaching their full potential.
How to raise children with positive self-esteem?
- Love your children unconditionally. Be affectionate and tell them you love them no matter what they do. When you correct them, make sure to make it clear that the problem has to do with a concrete behavior, and not them personally.
- Give them your attention. Find times to be alone with your children and look them in the eyes when they talk to you. This way, you show them that you’re really listening and that they’re truly important to you.
- Offer options. From the time children are 2 years old, they’re able to start making some small decisions on their own. Giving them choices gives them the understanding that you trust in their ability to decide.
- Establish clear and consistent limits. Knowing their limits helps them to feel safe.
- Allow your children to make mistakes and boost their independence. Encourage them to do their homework themselves and, if they make a mistake, don’t rush to correct them. Rather, allow them to discover their mistakes and look for a better option.
- Avoid comparisons. Emphasize the idea that we’re all different and we all have our own strengths and talents. Teach your children to admire and learn from others rather than envying them. Also, help them feel proud of their own virtues rather than comparing themselves to others.
- Develop their ability to adapt. Teach them to face challenges in life. Remind them that what matters isn’t getting things right the first time, but rather making an effort and being confident.
- Accept their emotions and meltdowns. Help your children identify and manage their emotions.
- Be an example of positive self-esteem. Express how proud you are of their accomplishments and avoid making negative comments about your kids.
- Provide a positive environment. Make it a habit to talk to your kids each night about their day. Every morning, make a point to remind your children about their great potential.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Haeussler, I., & Milicic, N. (1995). Confiar en uno mismo: Programa de desarrollo de la autoestima. Editorial Catalonia.
- Niebla, J. C., & Hernández-Guzmán, L. (2001). ¿ Son Contextos Socio-ambientales los que Definen las Dimensiones de la Autoestima en Niños y Adolescentes?. Revista Mexicana de Psicología, 18(2), 229-237. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joaquin_Niebla/publication/288269769_Are_self-esteem_dimensions_defined_by_socio-environmental_contexts_in_children_and_adolescents/links/5b159512aca272d43b7e7cab/Are-self-esteem-dimensions-defined-by-socio-environmental-contexts-in-children-and-adolescents.pdf
- Shaffer, D. R., & del Barrio Martínez, C. (2002). Desarrollo social y de la personalidad. Madrid: Thomson.