Fostering Self-Esteem in Children

Parents wish the best for their children, to help them to be bold, determined, courageous and kind hearted individuals with great moral skills. An important aspect to kids developing such traits comes early in the childhood with their own self worth and self esteem. Self esteem is defined as the amount of worth or value a person attaches to their own personality and being.

Self Esteem is defined by many features which include, self confidence, feeling of security, self identity, sense of belonging and feeling of competence. This sense of value, self worth and self respect is at its lowest during a person’s childhood and increases as they grow and mature.

What makes self esteem an important part of personality development? Having good self esteem impacts various aspects of our lives from one’s decision making skills, their emotional well being and overall health of that individual. Healthy self esteem allows people to,

  • Appreciate and be realistic about their capacities and understand the areas that require improvement without prejudice.
  • have healthy successful maintenance of social relationships by holding others with great esteem as they have for themselves.
  • Have a deeper understanding of their emotions, feelings and thoughts enabling them to express it in a well-articulated manner.

People with low self esteem are often riddled without doubts about their own decisions, their thought processes and needs validation for their actions. They lack motivation and feel like they’re incapable of attaining the goals they’ve set for themselves. This lack of self worth results in them not being able to form healthy meaningful relationships, express their needs and feelings properly, making them feel unworthy.

That said, high self esteem can be damaging to one’s overall personality. People with high self esteem often see themselves as perfect without any scope or need for further improvement, this severely diminishes their personal growth and their ability to maintain healthy relationships. They can also feel entitled and overestimate the proficiency of their skills which can lead to massive disappointment in themselves.

Several factors play a determining role in how much a person values themselves, age, physical abilities, socioeconomic status, thought patterns, genetics are some of them. These factors can play both a negative and positive role in a developing of one’s self esteem. Increasing age and rational thought patterns positively aids self esteem emergence in an individual. Whereas people with socio-economic problems or differently abled individuals may find it difficult to value themselves healthily thus negatively impacting their self esteem.

Healthy self esteem in children manifests as confidence, kindness, self acceptance, good thoughts about themselves, and gives them a sense of accomplishment. They are seen to be more happy, socially interactive, enthusiastically curious with a keen sense of learning, and creative and resourceful. It therefore becomes imperative that parent’s employ their efforts into ensuring that their kids feel safe and secure enough to express themselves, to be bold, and understanding. Let us find out how to ensure kids can develop a healthy sense of self esteem!

Children are always learning, be it from sitting up right to taking their first steps or reading their first book, they are feats that take a lot of learning. Encourage the curiosity that fuels their young minds as they master new things with delight. These are areas during an individual’s childhood that plays a crucial role in their budding self esteem. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”, the quote by Benjamin Franklin rings of truth in this case for children.

Appreciate and teach them to appreciate their work and the effort they put into it. Children who appreciate their own efforts, learn to value themselves by valuing the work they’ve done to the effort they have put into it. This encourages them to be more creative and broaden their horizons. However it is necessary to understand that over praising can also negatively impact a healthy self esteem. Never dole out empty praises that are based on results but appreciate and praise the effort, dedication they made to progress themselves in an arena. This is more meaningful to a child whilst being incremental to the development of a positive personality.

Do not be a harsh critic of their abilities, this leaves them feeling unsatisfied and demotivated harming the value they hold for themselves. Patience is key in correcting a child where it’s required and while criticism isn’t bad, ensure that it’s constructive to their overall growth and not destructive to their budding confidence. Help them learn from their own mistakes and understand what can be done differently rather than banning them from ever making a decision of their own.

Be a person whom your children admire and look up to. Being a role model doesn’t require the person to be perfect or all knowing, but is more about having a humble and understanding personality who is aware of their strengths and weaknesses equally. Children often learn a lot initially by mimicking their parents, therefore it is essential that parents be cheerful, well mannered, persistent and patient and cope with setbacks rationally allowing the children to understand what they must do in similar situations.

Support your child’s endeavors, be it a small activity to a demanding task, always encourage them, help them focus on their strong points, offer them choices to help develop their decision making skills, and a create a safe and nurturing environment where they can realize their full potential and express themselves without fear of being punished.

These are some essential ways by which parents can ensure and instill positivity in their child, boost their morale and help build their self esteem. Children’s journey of developing their self esteem and self worth begins at home and are worthy of being loved and cherished. Parents and loved ones have an innate role to play in this crucial juncture of their lives owing to which their children can reap the benefits at every stage of their lives.

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