As children mature through adolescence and into adulthood, it’s often difficult for them to feel good about themselves. I think back to when my 17 year old daughter was younger, obsessing over her appearance and how others viewed her. To boost self esteem in our children, we need to work hard at reminding them that they are fine just the way they are. To lead by example, we need to acknowledge that in ourselves as well.
It starts with you
How do your refer to yourself in the presence of your children? Do you make negative remarks about your appearance, or put yourself down?
Expressing self love and appreciation for ourselves in front of our children is important because they learn how to treat themselves by watching us.
Separate the Deed from the Doer
Even when your child behaves badly, he or she is not “bad.” If you feel angry or disappointed, comment only on the behavior that has upset you. For example, instead of “you weren’t a good girl today,” say, “when you don’t share with your brother, I feel disappointed.”
Help your children find their passion
Exposing your children to different activities helps them to develop interests, cultivate passion and build confidence. Balance competitive activities with those that encourage personal best, to teach your children about teamwork, as well as independence.
Choose your words carefully
Even with the best of intentions, there are times when parents use demeaning words or label their children in a way they regret later. Not only do put downs damage a child’s self esteem but they may also become part of a self fulfilling prophecy. In other words, children may meet your expectations by behaving poorly if they believe that is all you see.
Watch television with your Children
Bombarded with media messages promoting unrealistic ideals, it is especially important to watch television with our children. By participating in program viewing, you can comment and ask questions to help your children evaluate what they are watching and how they are being influenced.
Display their work and certificates of achievement
Displaying work is a great way to help your children feel proud of their accomplishments and encourages them to continue to do well.
Encourage a little “showing off”
Some parents may be concerned about having their children appear obnoxious or arrogant when displaying their talents. Although you should be sensitive towards the interest of your child’s audience, encouraging your child to “show off” in moderation, gets them the positive reinforcement
Involve your child when helping others. Helping others makes us feel good. Having your children involved in helping people who are less fortunate, will develop positive feelings of selflessness, self worth and inner pride.
Make family their foundation
Demonstrating teamwork, respectable behavior and caring among family members will enhance your child’s sense of security and belonging which will develop into feelings of confidence and well being.
By Sara Dimerman