Having high-self-esteem can help your child navigate life with ease as they feel more comfortable in their own skin. Having low self-esteem tends to create more problems with money, depression, and drug abuse. People with low self-esteem are even more vulnerable to clinical problems such as anxiety and loneliness.
It is possible to raise anyone’s sense of self-worth, no matter how old or young. Helping your child build their self-esteem can be done with 8 simple techniques.
1. Notice and acknowledge when they have done something well. Recognizing and appreciating your child's strengths and achievements will help them to feel accomplished and motivated further. Goal achievement is critical to building self-esteem.
2. Take an interest in what your child does to ensure they feel that their ideas and interests are meaningful. This ensures your child feels they have value which increases feelings of self-worth.
3. Spend quality time with your child. Let them choose the activity to encourage autonomy and independence, and that you are interested in participating in activities that are meaningful and enjoyable to them.
4. Give your child age and developmentally appropriate responsibilities to encourage growth and accomplishment. Asking children to complete tasks or hold responsibility outside their capability can initiate or encourage feelings of disappointment or failure for negative outcomes beyond their understanding or control.
5. Whenever possible, let your child make their own choices to build a sense of independence and control over the things are meaningful or that impact them. Assist children to problem solve, consider the pros and cons, and choose a favourable option. This builds skills and trust in themselves to make decisions.
6. Help your child recognize the difference between things they can change and things beyond their control. Talk about the impacts of worrying about things they cannot change, including the feelings and behaviours of others. Encourage children to act on appropriate situations they want to see improve and learn to accept or let go of things that they cannot change.
7. Help your child set realistic goals and make plans to achieve them. Talk about the purpose for their goals and their values or reasoning behind them. Assist children to break down goals into smaller tasks or steps and discuss the amount of time and commitment it might take to achieve it. Talking about potential obstacles and setting expectations around hard work or the time needed to see progress can reduce feelings of sadness or setback if they don't feel success right away.
8. Be generous with your love and encourage positive self-talk, especially if children are showing or expressing feelings of sadness, worthlessness, disappointment, or failure. Ensure that they know you are there to support and encourage them through successes and challenges and that they aren't defined by the challenges they face. Everyone experiences setbacks and it is through those setbacks that we experience the most learning and growth.
If you are worried about your child's self esteem or they are expressing feelings of failure, worthlessness, or disappointment, connect with your EFAP for support. We can assist you to talk with your child about their thoughts and feelings through individual parenting coaching or family counselling sessions.