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How to Improve Children's Self Esteem

Improving your child's self-esteem can provide a number of lifelong benefits. Children with healthy levels of self-esteem are ready to face the world and better equipped to cope with challenges. A positive sense of self may also help your child resist negative peer pressure and help cultivate a more optimistic and realistic viewpoint. On the other hand, children without healthy levels of self-esteem may be more likely to fall victim to negative, defeatist thought patterns and be more susceptible to peer pressure. Whether you feel your child has low self-esteem or you just want to provide him with a extra boost, you can help improve your child's self-esteem.

Improve your own self-esteem to help your child improve his. Your child may have developed a low level of self-esteem by observing the behaviors and attitudes you have toward yourself. If you are constantly beating yourself up and putting yourself down, you're only sending the message that it's all right for your child to do the same.

Praise your child's accomplishments and achievements, but don't go overboard. Children need and like to hear praise for a job well-done. But overpraising your child can backfire, says family therapist Jenn Berman in an article for WebMD. Too much praise may cause your child to fear taking risks or trying new things because he thinks he won't be able to live up to your expectations. Provide accurate, specific and sincere praise that reflects your child's abilities and acknowledges his hard work and efforts.

Pay attention to your child during play time or other quality times that you enjoy together. If you are too busy with other responsibilities to fully focus on your child, you may be inadvertently sending the message that you don't feel your child is important or worthy of your time and undivided attention. By making your child feel special and cherished, you help him feel valued and help increase his sense of self-worth.

Cultivate an open, safe and supportive home environment. Children who are exposed to violence, abuse, neglect and negativity have a higher likelihood of developing low self-esteem than those who come from safe and secure homes, notes Avoid fighting with your partner in front of your children. Provide unconditional love and affection on a daily basis.

Encourage your child to try new activities. Children who are encouraged to branch out and participate in a broad range of activities may have higher levels of self-esteem because they feel a sense of competence and achievement through exploring the world around them.

Set realistic goals, says Mental Health America of Illinois. If you set the bar too high, your child may pressured and unable to meet your expectations. The goals you set for your child should match his natural talents and abilities.


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