Childhood self esteem plays an important role in a person’s feelings of self worth for life, so it is worth paying attention to signs of high or low self esteem during your child’s formative years. With care, attention and parents influence on self esteem, you can do a lot to help nurture healthy self esteem and better prepare your child for life in the outside world.
Self esteem describes how good we feel about ourselves, independent of outside praise or criticism. Although this feeling state naturally fluctuates depending on the situation, a person with high self esteem will recover more quickly from negative experiences, and maintain a better overall belief in themselves and their abilities. A child with negative self esteem, on the other hand, is more likely to feel defeated, helpless, or like “a bad person.” It is obvious that in order to thrive in the world, it is essential to have higher self esteem.
Signs of Your Child’s Self Esteem
Signs of self esteem begin early in life, often after a child turns two and begins interacting more with the people and situations surrounding him or her. Children have higher self esteem when they feel loved and accepted unconditionally, not based on performance, and are therefore less afraid to try new things. They also feel good about themselves when they are able to accomplish things, so giving them tasks that are within their range of ability, with realistic challenges, can help foster healthy development. Similarly, when things don’t go as planned, it is important to show them how to cope with disappointment, and be realistic about the fact that disappointment inevitably happens sometimes. In this way, they are better able to accept failure without internalizing a feeling of worthlessness.
Low self esteem in children often shows up as displays of frustration, withdrawal, or an intense need for approval. In such cases is it not enough to merely praise the child, as this just propels the reliance on outside support. Rather, it is important to take an interest in the child’s natural abilities, love him or her for who they are, and try to introduce situations or assign tasks at which they can succeed and gain confidence in themselves. Encouragement and appreciation are certainly welcome, naturally, but it is important to be sincere, and emphasize that challenges are a part of life, and that learning and growing are part of an ongoing process.
Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Watch your child’s style of interacting with the world around them. Are they confident, afraid, indifferent, angry? Their behavior and personality should give you clues as to their underlying feelings towards themselves. More than anything children need to feel loved and accepted by the people who are most important to them, and not be afraid of having that love taken away. The sooner you can impress upon them an appreciation for their uniqueness, not dependent on performance, the healthier and more well-adjusted they will grow up to be.
For more information on how you can gauge your child’s self-esteem and to learn the powerful habits of raising confident kids, go to Parents influence on self esteem. Watch your child skyrocket his self-esteem, guaranteed!