How to Keep Children from Seeking Approval from Others

Building up a child's healthy self-esteem is the best way to keep them from constantly seeking approval from others, both at home and in other social settings such as school.
How to Keep Children from Seeking Approval from Others

Last update: 29 December, 2020

Surely you’ve seen more than one scene where someone asks a child a question, and the child automatically looks to their parents to know what they can or should do. In principle, this situation is normal and healthy. However, it can become a problem when children are constantly seeking approval from others.

Now, is it good for children to always need the approval of an adult, guardian, parent or even peer? Not really. It’s not always positive, as it can undermine their security, self-concept and self-esteem.

Let’s remember that if children grow and develop feeling insecure and constantly doubting themselves, this is how they’ll behave for the rest of their lives. So, if you don’t want your children to end up as adults with low self-esteem and bad memories of childhood, it’s important to prevent them from constantly seeking approval from others.

How to Keep Children from Seeking Approval from Others

Early experiences are key and will mark a child’s personality for life. Therefore, it’s important to raise little ones in an environment that promotes security and well-being, with clear limits. What’s more, we should avoid producing excessive feelings of frustration and promote a healthy self-esteem – not too high and not too low.

Why shouldn’t children be constantly seeking approval from others?

Basically, children know two environments that are where much of their early life takes place: family and school. If we make a good analysis, we’ll find that for more than three quarters of the day, children are either at home or at school.

What does this mean? That in order to work on a child’s safety and keep them from seeking approval from others, we have to focus on both environments: family and school.

At home

It’s normal for children to depend on their parents, since they’re the ones who offer affection, sustenance, and protection. However, if the adult doesn’t naturalize this fact, it could affect a child’s self-esteem.

In other words, a parent must give children confidence so that they know that they don’t have to earn their sustenance and affection. This way, it’ll be easier for the child not to always have to seek the respect and love of their parents.

With a securely attached upbringing, children know they have the right to have their own opinions, to be more confident, and to trust in their possibilities without always having to look for help, approval and opinions from adults.

We shouldn’t confuse this with paternal and maternal attitudes that are overprotective or excessively rigid. It’s not about raising submissive and obedient children, but children that are responsible and capable of managing themselves properly.

Constant listening

Therefore, you’ll have to maintain a constant positive attitude of active listening. This way, you’ll be able to understand the child, know their opinions, and give them the importance they have.

What’s more, you’ll allow them to express themselves and make them feel respected and loved. At no time should you have lead them to believe that anything could cause us to withdraw our affection and love.

Of course, if a behavior or opinion doesn’t seem appropriate, we should express that our position is contrary to theirs, but in a respectful way.

At school

So, we must always remember that school also plays a vital role in the education and upbringing of children. In the classroom, kids may seek constant approval from teachers or peers in order to feel that they belong.

How to Keep Children from Seeking Approval from Others

For this reason, teachers must seek to ensure that children build a strong and solid self-esteem. That way, their relationships won’t become problematic, toxic or too dependent.

Remember that preventing children from seeking approval from others helps to prevent abuse. Therefore, teachers have to show children that they have affection and respect for them and that being more or less dependent won’t change the situation.

It’s fundamental that each child’s clear that their principles matter, as well as their way of being. We’ll respect them unconditionally so that they don’t feel obliged to constantly seek approval from anyone.

In short, there may be times when certain behaviors of the child require correction, of course. But knowing how to prevent children from constantly seeking the approval of others implies solving any problem that arises without affecting their self-esteem and confidence.


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.

  • Branden, N. (2001). Los seis pilares de la autoestima. Barcelona: Temas de Hoy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.