All children are naturally born with healthy self-esteem, and for most of them, things stay this way through their early childhood. But as they grow older and approach their teen years, there are a number of factors that can come into play and affect their sense of personal value and self-worth. That’s usually when low self-esteem starts to appear.
Since your child’s self-esteem plays an essential role in their development, influencing the way they interact with others and their ability to handle different challenges, it’s important to pay close attention to this aspect. A high level of confidence and self-esteem represents the foundation for a happy and fulfilling life: it helps children cope better with mistakes, build positive relationships, navigate difficult situations, make the most of their abilities, and continue to grow and develop in a healthy way.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure your kid doesn’t experience any issues in this area, so you have to get actively involved in their social and emotional development. If you’ve noticed that your child is struggling with low self-esteem, there are various ways you can step in and help them build a healthy sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Causes of low self-esteem
In order to help your kid overcome low self-esteem, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place. There are various factors that can lead to having low self-worth, as follows:
As they become more aware of their environment and the people that surround them, children start to compare themselves with their friends and peers. This usually starts around the age of six. While comparison is a normal human behavior, for young children who are at a very vulnerable moment in their life, it can set the stage for feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.
A sense of inferiority
Comparison can make some children realize that their skills and competencies are not equal to other’s. If they experience poor performance in a certain area of activity that is important to them, this can significantly affect their self-worth.
Growing up also implies experiencing a higher level of pressure from adults, especially from parents and teachers. Children are expected to act and behave in a certain way, and they can face negative consequences if they don’t live up to these expectations. Performance becomes more important than effort, and that can put a big burden on their shoulders.
As their actions and behaviors are being judged by adults, children also become more aware of other people’s disapproval. This can only impact their self-esteem if the disapproval comes from a person they like and respect.
How to help your child build confidence and self-esteem
Now let’s see what you can do to boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Keep in mind that these strategies imply long-term efforts, so you shouldn’t expect to see progress overnight.
Spend time with your kid
We know that being a parent can be exhausting, as you have tons of responsibilities on your plate, but no matter how busy you are, you should still try to spend as much time with your kid as possible. Every child craves attention from his parents. Meeting this basic need plays an important role in developing a positive self-image. By playing and doing different activities together you will make your child feel valued and important.
You should celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how big or small. Seeing that their efforts are appreciated will make them feel like they’re capable of accomplishing great things. Too many times parents tend to focus on what their children are doing wrong, and forget to highlight their good actions and behaviors. Try to praise them as often as possible and focus more on their strengths, so they can learn to be proud of the things they’re good at.
Although parents have the tendency to keep their children as close to them as possible, for safety reasons, it’s extremely important to give your kid the chance to be independent, as this will have a positive impact on their confidence. Apart from allowing them to perform certain activities on their own, such as doing their homework or taking care of younger siblings, you can also sign your kids up for a day camp where they can learn independence and freedom in a safe environment. You can ask for recommendations for camps in Queens, so you can rest assured your kid is in good hands and is having a great time, while also building up his confidence.
Engage your child in different activities and chores
Depending on your child’s age, you can encourage them to take on certain household chores and responsibilities. When they face difficulties or make mistakes, offer them your support and reassure them that making mistakes is normal and they shouldn’t get discouraged. This gives children a sense of purpose and teaches them they are capable of progress. The more they learn, the more confident they’ll become.
Pay attention to what they say
Don’t turn interactions with your kid into a one-way conversation. While talking to them and explaining how certain things have to be done is one of your main responsibilities as a parent, it’s just as important to listen to what your child has to say to you. Listening to your child’s concerns and encouraging them to share their thoughts and experiences with you will make them feel that their voice matters.
Choose your words carefully when disciplining them
Children often misbehave, and that’s a fact. But that’s no reason to insult them or say harsh words to your child. If you have to discipline them, try to remain calm and choose your words carefully when you explain to your child what they’ve done wrong. Kids have to know that even if they make mistakes, their wrong actions don’t change the way you feel about them.
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