Raising children with a healthy sense of self-esteem is a challenge, but it’s one of the most important things a parent can do. Self-esteem is how your children see themselves. It’s how they perceive their ability, value and worth. They need to have a strong sense of self-esteem to be emotionally and mentally healthy adults. By being aware and understanding the positive and supportive ways to raise children’s self-esteem, you can make sure your children have the confidence, courage and resilience to deal with all of life’s challenges.
Step 1: Pay Attention To Your Child’s Feelings
The first step to building self-esteem in children is to pay attention. Pay attention to how they’re feeling and show that you understand them by listening and providing safe spaces and times to talk. That way they can work through their emotions and share their struggles, successes and frustrations with you. By doing this, you establish a strong bond and connection with your children and make them feel safe to talk to you.
Step 2: Encourage Positive Behaviour
The next step to building self-esteem in your children is to encourage positive behaviour. Instead of focusing on their negative behaviours, praise and encourage the positive behaviour you do see. For example, if your daughter was kind to a friend, compliment her on being considerate and thoughtful. Being positive with your praise reinforces motivation and encourages your children to continue making good behavioural choices.
Step 3: Support Your Child’s Commitments-
Children need to have goals and dreams. It’s important to support them with whatever commitments they make. Offer positive words of encouragement and words of appreciation. Spend time discussing their interests and activities, and show that you are interested in their progress and achievements. The more your child knows you’re interested and invested in what he or she is doing, the more your child’s self-esteem and confidence will grow.
Step 4: Allow You Child to Make Mistakes
It’s natural that as a parent, you want to protect your child from making mistakes. But this could undermine their sense of independency, and make them doubt their capabilities. Let them make mistakes, as this will help them realise that mistakes are opportunity for growth and learning; it will also help them develop resilience and gain self-confidence.
Step 5: Set Boundaries
Boundaries are important for both parents and children. It’s important to make sure that you’re setting age appropriate boundaries and being consistent, from the moment your children are born. As your children grow older, remember to slowly let go, allowing your children to take more responsibility for their actions. Setting boundaries could be hard in the beginning, but as your children mature and understand the boundaries, it will help to foster their independency, which will result in developing a healthy self-esteem.
Step 6: Nurture Self-Expression
Expressing emotions is one of the most important steps in developing a healthy sense of self-esteem. Encourage your children to talk to you and understand how they’re feeling. If they’re struggling, help them to work through it, or recommend they discuss it with a counsellor if necessary. Find safe spaces and times to allow your child to talk — this could be during dinner, family day or bedtime. You could also help your children find healthy outlets for their emotions such as sports, music, art and creative writing.
Step 7: Provide Opportunities for Appreciation
Appreciating your children’s actions and successes will help to build a strong sense of self-esteem. Letting your children know that you noticed their efforts will help them to feel appreciated and in turn, foster their self-confidence.
You can also model positive behaviour. Talk positively about yourself and tell your children about achievements you made. Be grateful for all the blessings in your life and express your gratitude. This will not only make you a better role model, but it’s also a great opportunity to show your children the importance of self-appreciation.
Step 8: Offer Support
Your children need your support, even during their troubled times. You can provide them with the needed support unconditionally. Let them know that you’re there for them and you’ll always be there to help them get through tough times, no matter what. That assurance will help to make your children feel safe and secure and be inspired to work through the tumultuous times.
Step 9:Allow Opportunities for Growth
Providing your children with opportunities to grow will help to instill a strong sense of self-esteem. Ask your children for their opinions and let them take charge of small tasks. Encourage them to try things that are challenging and believe in themselves. Let them fail and learn from those experiences and help them understand that mistakes don’t define them.
Step 10: Model a Positive Self-Image
It’s important to model the behaviour and attitude that you want your children to adopt. Have a positive self-image and make sure that you express it through your words and actions. Children make mistakes, but always remember to be patient and treat them as if they are capable of achieving great things.
Building self-esteem for parenting is not an overnight goal, it does take some time and effort. All of the above steps are important for instilling a strong sense of self-esteem in your children. Remember to be patient with them and support them through both their successes and failures. By doing this, you will help them to become successful and confident adults.