We are as capable as we believe ourselves to be. The greater our sense of self worth and self belief, the harder we strive to achieve our goals, consequently increasing the likelihood of success. Naturally, self-esteem is extremely important to the healthy development and future of any child. It lays the foundation for your child’s future, as he sets out to try new things on his own. Nurturing your child’s sense of self-esteem is therefore a huge responsibility, but there are lessons you can learn from other parents and experts.
Self-esteem is extremely important to the healthy development and future of any child.
Here few simple strategies to help boost your child’s self-esteem:
Give Unconditional Love And Express It
Your choice of words can have a far greater impact on your child than you realize. While you may know that you love your child no matter what, your child still needs reassurance. Make it a point to tell your child that you love him or her, no matter who they are or what they might do. This instills strong feelings of connection and acceptance, making it easier for them to accept themselves. Be expressive in both your words and actions – cuddling, hugging, and kissing can be reassuring and reinforces those feelings of love. They know that they are loved, cared for and accepted regardless of their strengths, difficulties, temperament or abilities. This eases the pressure of performance and allows them to be free and explore themselves.
Give Attention And Explain Things
Yes, you may be extremely busy with a demanding job and plenty of household chores, but providing for your child also involves giving him plenty of attention. You need to make the time to focus on your child, giving him your undivided attention. Failing to do so can give rise to feelings of neglect that result in low self-worth and self-esteem. You don’t need to spend hours playing with your child or listening to what they have to say, but it means that you need to be ready to be prepared to put aside your phone or take a break from what you are doing from time to time to listen to what they are trying to say and to answer their questions. Always maintain eye contact to show that you are attentive and ask questions or elaborate on the conversation to express your interest. Children are intuitive and can sense when you are just trying to wriggle out of the conversation.
If you are in the middle of a chore or need to get something done, explain your situation. Tell your child that you need to keep it short so that you can get back to preparing dinner or that you just need ten minutes to wrap up what you are doing before you can talk.
Teach Limits And Respect Them
While you need to be loving and attentive with your child, you also need to be firm. Lay down certain ground rules, but be consistent. For example, if you tell your child that eating is not permitted in the bedroom, you need to enforce the rule and not turn a blind eye the next time you catch him eating in bed! Just make sure, that when you are correcting or reprimanding your child it is clear that you are unhappy with a particular action, not with them.
This may not seem to have much bearing on your child’s self-esteem, but it does. When the rules are well-defined and consistently enforced, children start to feel more secure and also become more accustomed to following those rules. You also need to show them that you trust them to make good choices and comply with the rules, as this boosts their feelings of self-worth and confidence.
Support Their Choices And Accept The Risks
If you discourage your child from making choices that involve risks, your child will lack the confidence to try out new things in life and will always have a fear of failure. Whether it’s trying out a new food, climbing a tree, or befriending the neighborhood cats and dogs, be watchful but not overprotective. Allow your child to explore and follow his natural curiosity, without constantly intervening. Your child’s self-esteem will grow tremendously if you put faith in his ability to tackle new challenges.
Every child is unique and it is extremely important that you avoid reprimanding and correcting your child by using comparisons. Doing so will dent self-esteem and make your child feel inadequate. Likewise, do not go to the other extreme, telling him that he is the best at a particular sport or activity. Simply, let him know that you are happy and proud instead. By indulging in comparisons, your child can feel immense pressure because he cannot match up to the performance of another or cannot meet your high expectations.
In addition to these simple tips, there are other things that you can do, many of which will come to you intuitively as a parent. Yes, there are some things that you just learn best on the job. Being empathetic and encouraging are things you don’t need to learn from a parenting book, but you need to use these skills when dealing with your child.
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