Self-esteem is how we accept and value ourselves unconditionally.
A person with healthy self-esteem accepts himself for who he is, is self-confident, has a positive outlook of life and is able to overcome most life challenges. On the other hand, low self-esteem tends to cause a person to focus on his shortcomings, dismiss his achievements, has a negative outlook of life and feels that he has little control over the changes which occur in his life.
Healthy self-esteem should be inculcated from young as this will help our children recognise their personal strengths and adopt a positive outlook of life from an early age. In so doing, they will be better prepared to cope with the challenges that may come their way as they grow up. Children with low self-esteem may have difficulty dealing with and managing problems. They may become frustrated and pessimistic as a result and think they are not good at anything.
Here are some other ways we, as parents, can help boost our children’s self-esteem.
Spend Time With Our Children
Making time for children will make them feel that they are important to us. Join them in activities, such as soccer or watch a movie, which they enjoy.
Listen To Our Children
Give children full attention and listen to them. Ask them about their friends, teachers and the activities they do in school to find out how they are coping. Offer them advice or help where appropriate.
Be Generous With Praises
Children are often reprimanded for what they have done wrong and seldom praised for good behaviour. As a result, they may come to believe that they can never be good enough. Praise our children whenever they have done a good deed no matter how small it is. For example, “You have kept your books properly, good job!” This will help to reinforce positive behaviours in them and build their self-esteem.
When disciplining our children, avoid using words like “lazy” ,”naughty” or “stupid” as they do not tell them what the acceptable behaviour is and may lead them to believe that they can never be good enough. Instead, correct our children’s negative behaviours by explaining how inappropriate their action was. Telling them that you love them but do not like their behaviour can make them more mindful of their actions.
Have Realistic Expectations
Every child progresses differently. Avoid comparisons and do not make them feel like a failure when they do not do well. This will lower their self-esteem and self-worth which may in turn make them less eager to learn and less motivated to try their best. Instead, praise our children for their efforts and discuss how to improve their performance gradually.
Teach Our Children To Be Positive
It is important to teach children to be positive and optimistic when faced with difficulties. This helps to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence as well as help them recover from setbacks and failures, and continue to be motivated to work hard.
Focus On Strengths
Help children explore their strengths. Encourage them to try different activities and hobbies. Explain to them that different people have different strengths and are good at different things and they should be proud of what they are good at.
Encourage Decision-Making And Independence
Entrust children with manageable tasks to complete by themselves. Praise them when they finish their tasks. This will make them feel good about taking up such responsibilities. Assure them of their support should they encounter problems or make wrong decisions. This will help build their self-confidence and independence as they learn from their experiences.
Article Courtesy of Heath Promotion Board, Singapore