Importance of Self Esteem in Children

Make no mistake about it, self esteem is extremely important for one’s self-worth as well as how they are viewed by others. You see, individuals with high self esteem not only see themselves as valuable but carry themselves in a way that demonstrates that they are somebody special. In turn, people who meet them also hold them in high regards and treat them with respect. It’s good to have high self esteem because it plays an important role in the social, physical, as well as academic aspect of children’s lives. Once children develop this quality – they’re on their way to enjoying a successful life because they know the sky is the limit for them.

The great thing is that you can help your child achieve high self esteem and improve their self worth. This can be done by showing them unconditional love, acceptance, and respect which will help them feel empowered. In turn, they will see themselves as truly valuable people worthy of love and respect. Therefore, as parents, it is our job to not only love our children but instill within them a healthy sense of self. This can be accomplished by being committed to helping our children build high self esteem from infanthood through adulthood. In this brief article, we will explore causes of low self esteem, how to improve your child’s self esteem, the benefits of having children with high self esteem and more.

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

First of all, let’s talk about the major reasons children have low self esteem. Once you understand this, you can work with your child to make sure that their self esteem is improved if not eliminate low self esteem as a personality trait.

  1. Many children lack high self esteem because their actions have consistently been met with disapproval. In some cases, the adults in their lives have constantly judged them on how they have performed. In essence, these well meaning adults simply handled the disappointments inappropriately and made the child feel like a failure. This in turn, caused the child to feel frustrated, depressed, and like they couldn’t do anything right. This led to low self esteem in the child.
  2. Many children with low self esteem also believe that their parents only love them when they “are good”, meet certain standards, or perform extremely well. These children don’t realize that while their parents may not approve of their actions all the time, they still love them. With this mindset, it is no surprise that the children often feel distraught, down and very depressed. They fear performing new tasks and this leads to further erosion of their self-esteem. In order for parents to alleviate this feeling, it’s important to separate the child from the actions when things have gone wrong and consistently tell them, “I love you but I don’t like the behavior you’re exhibiting and although I’m not feeling good about your actions, I am still willing to work with you and will help you with this issue.”
  3. In addition, the child that has low self esteem as a personality trait has a difficult time building self worth and adults should work to continually build on their self esteem through their actions and reactions to situations. They should consistently tell them, “I’m proud of you. You did a great job. You really tried, etc.”

Overindulgence is not the answer

This isn’t to say that you should lie to your children. In fact, overindulgence of praise is praising a child at inappropriate junctures and this is unacceptable and can lead to disenchantment with his/her self-esteem and loss of respect for you. There’s a thin line between positive and inappropriate praise and you have to be careful not to cross the line. In other words, if a child doesn’t do something well, they probably know that they didn’t do well and if you praise them at this time they’ll be disenchanted and not believe you when you tell the truth. On the other hand, adults shouldn’t make children feel worse but can help them more if they simply say something such as, “Yes, its true, you didn’t do as well as you could have so let me help you do better next time.” This way the parent avoids using inappropriate praise and doesn’t send the child confusing and conflicting signals. In turn, the child learns to trust the person and believe them. So, the bottom line is give praise when it is deserved and refrain from giving criticism and praise when it is unwarranted.

Developing Self Esteem in Children

By administering positive accolades when appropriate, you’ll help your child develop a sense of inner pride while providing a positive and nurturing environment in which they can thrive. In addition, you’ll strengthen the child/parent bond and children will learn to recognize their self awareness and value their own efforts.

Lastly, you should always keep the channel of communication open. Not only does this improve the parental/child bond but also leads to intellectual development and strong emotional ties. Regular ‘chats’ and encouragement helps build confidence, and hence high self-esteem, in children. These pep talks will equip them to cope with difficult situations, including sharing their feelings with others, managing anger, resolving conflict and dealing with stress. By communicating, they will feel empowered and able to handle disappointment in a healthy way.

Characteristics of Children with High Self Esteem

Children who have high self esteem are likely to be.

  1. Positive in their approach and be co-operative
  2. Cooperative with peers and adults
  3. Able to make friends easily
  4. Fearless of new activities
  5. In control on their behavior
  6. Creative
  7. More academically able.

In conclusion, self-esteem is very important in the lives of children. It is the building block of success. It not only gives them a positive sense of self but it also enables children to handle difficult situations, manage anger and stress, resolve conflict, and make positive decisions. Therefore, as parents and other adults in children’s lives, we should make a point to help the kids in our lives achieve higher self esteem and you’ll feel empowered to know that your young person will have a better life academically, socially and physically!


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