Is your child always willing to try new activities or does he or she tend to sit on the sidelines?
Does your child find it easy to make new friends or does she tend to withdraw from social activities?
If your child shies away from new activities and the company of others, he or she may be suffering from low self-esteem.
The good news is that there are several ways to increase your child’s self-esteem, making them feel better about themselves.
Give Your Child Attention and Affection
If you pay close attention to what your child is saying and answer him with appropriate comments and questions, he will feel valued as a person and his self-esteem will be raised.
If, however, you don’t truly listen to your child’s words and always respond with “uh-huh,” your child will believe that he’s not worth listening to and his self-esteem will suffer as a result.
Showing your child plenty of affection, by giving her hugs and kisses each day, will help to raise her self-esteem by showing her that she is a person worthy of love.
It’s appropriate to reduce the amount of affection you give your child as she grows older but even older children appreciate one or two hugs a day. It’s a good idea to give these hugs in private, though, because older children can feel embarrassed when receiving affection from their parents in public.
Say “I love You”
Another important aspect of improving your child’s self-esteem is to tell him regularly that you love him.
Many adults with low self-esteem are unsure of their parents’ love because their parents never once told them that they loved them.
You could simply say “I love you” at times when you feel strong affection for your child or you could tell him at bedtime each night that you had a lovely day with her and that you love her very much.
Praise and Encourage Your Child
Children who are regularly praised and encouraged for their efforts tend to have high levels of self-confidence, which in turn inspires them to try harder and accomplish more.
Children who are often criticized and ridiculed by their parents usually have low self-esteem and are more likely to give up easily and achieve less.
If you say, “Wow, that’s a lovely drawing” when your pre-school child presents a series of scribbles, you’ll motivate him to continue developing his drawing skills and he’ll eventually show you wonderfully executed pictures and designs.
If, however, you say, “What a mess — it looks like a spider has walked all over the page” and laugh, your child will feel bad about himself and believe that all his hard work was for nothing. This is likely to discourage him from developing his drawing skills in future.
Reinforce Good Behavior
Another aspect of praise and encouragement is reinforcing your child’s good behavior.
If your child gets ready for school without a fuss or tidies her room on her own initiative, be sure to give lots of praise for this good behavior. You could say, “Thank you for getting ready for school so quickly today,” or “Thank you for tidying your room so beautifully. It looks great.”
If you ignore your child’s good behavior, she may wonder why she should bother behaving well and may start to behave badly, as a way of attracting your attention.
Talk and Laugh With Your Child
Take time to talk, laugh and have fun with your child every day. You don’t have to talk about anything very profound, just talk about the weather, your child’s day, your upcoming vacation, or anything else that comes to mind.
Try to see the funny side of life as you engage with your child, even if you’ve had a bad day.
You can talk while you are doing other things, such as preparing dinner, as long as you pay attention to what your child is saying. Your child will feel that he is interesting to talk to and that will help raise his self-esteem.
If you ignore your child and just switch on the TV as soon as he comes home from school, he’ll think that he is not worth your time and attention.
Keep Communicating with Your Child
If the channels of communication are kept open, your child will feel secure and confident and will be more likely to confide in you about problems at school or with friends.
If your child does talk to you about a problem, take it seriously even if you think that it is not such a big deal. The fact that your child has broached the subject with you shows that she regards it as important.
Discuss the problem openly and encourage your child to consider possible solutions, rather than trying to solve the problem for her. This will increase your child’s confidence in her own ability to deal with problems and will stand her in good stead for adult life.
Children whose parents regularly engage them in conversation are more likely to talk with their parents when they have difficulties as teenagers.
Show Interest in Your Child’s Activities
If you talk with interest to your child about his school work, his activities outside school, and his interests, you’ll increase his self-esteem.
He’ll feel that he is an interesting person with unique talents and abilities.
On the other hand, if you show little interest in your child’s activities, your child will feel as if he’s not very important and that his abilities are not as good as those of other children.
If possible, volunteer at your child’s school or at an out-of-school activity. This will show your child that you are interested in what she does outside the home and will increase her sense of self-worth.
Try to attend all school performances and sporting matches in which your child participates. Knowing that you’re in the audience will reinforce your child’s self-confidence and encourage him or her to perform well.
Give Your Child a Life-Long Gift of Self-Confidence
Nurture your child’s self-esteem and help it grow.
Self-confidence is a valuable asset, in both childhood and adult life.
Self-confident people are much more likely to succeed in whatever field of work they choose because they are convinced that they are valuable human beings who are worthy of success.
People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, often set themselves up for failure because they believe they won’t succeed, even if they have the ability to do so.
If you invest some time in building up your child’s self-esteem, you’ll be giving a valuable gift that will last for a lifetime.