Developing your child’s self-esteem will make a big difference in his or her life. Having healthy self-esteem can act as a shield for the child when they encounter challenges in life. They will feel confident and any adversity they face will bring out the best of their abilities. As parents, we can play an important role in promoting and harnessing our children's self-esteem.

Healthy vs. Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how we accept and value ourselves unconditionally.

A person with healthy self-esteem accepts himself for who he is. He is self-confident, has a positive outlook on life and is able to overcome most life's challenges. On the other hand, a person with low self-esteem tends to focus on his shortcomings and has a negative outlook on life. He may also feel that he has little control over the changes that occur in his life.

Building Self-Esteem from Young

Healthy self-esteem should be inculcated from young as this will help your children recognise their strengths and capabilities, adopt a positive outlook on life from a young age and prepare them to cope with the challenges that may come their way as they grow up.

Children with low self-esteem may have difficulty dealing with and managing problems. They get frustrated easily and think they are not good at anything.

How to Boost Your Child’s Confidence and Self-Esteem

Here are some ways that you, as parents, can help build confidence in your child and boost their self-esteem.

#1 Spend time with them

Making time for your children will make your kids feel that they are important to you. Have fun and do activities together like watching a movie or playing ball games which they enjoy.

#2 Be attentive to what they say

Give your children full attention and listen to them. Ask them about their friends, teachers and the activities they do in school to find out how they are coping. Offer them advice or help where appropriate.

#3 Be generous with praises

Praise your child. Children are often reprimanded for what they have done wrong and seldom praised for good behaviour. As a result, they may believe that they can never be good enough. Praise kids whenever they have done a good deed no matter how small it is. For example, "You have kept your books properly, good job!" This will help to reinforce positive behaviours in them and build their self-esteem.

#4 Avoid labelling

When disciplining your children, avoid using words like lazy, naughty or stupid. Labels do not help your child learn what acceptable behaviour is and may lead them to believe that they can never be good enough. Instead, correct your children's negative behaviours by explaining how inappropriate their action was. Telling them that you love them but do not approve their wrong behaviour can make them more mindful of their actions.

#5 Have realistic expectations

Avoid comparisons and do not make your children feel like a failure when they do not do well e.g. when they do not get a good grade in school. This will lower their morale and self-worth which may, in turn, make them less eager to learn and less motivated to try their best. Instead, encourage your children and praise them for their efforts. Discuss how to improve their performance step by step.

#6 Teach them to think positively

It is important to teach your children to be positive and optimistic when faced with difficulties. This helps to boost their confidence and self-esteem as well as help them recover from setbacks and failures and continue to be motivated to work hard.

#7 Focus on their strengths

Help your children explore their strengths. Encourage your child to try different activities and hobbies. Explain to them that different people have different strengths and are good at different things and they should be proud of what they are good at.

#8 Encourage decision making and independence

Entrust your children with manageable tasks to complete by themselves. Praise them when they finish their tasks. This will boost their self-esteem and leave them feeling good about taking up such responsibilities. Assure them of support should they encounter problems or make wrong decisions. This will help build their self-confidence and independence as they learn from their experiences.

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