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Helping Your Child Develop a Healthy Self-Esteem

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Having a healthy self-esteem is a major key to academic and social success in school and in life. In fact, research shows that a positive self-concept is more important to academic success than a high IQ. Below are some guidelines you can follow to help foster your children's self-esteem:

Look at Each Child as a Unique Person
Make every effort not to compare a child with his or her siblings or classmates. Instead, focus on each child's many talents and assets rather than on what he or she does not have or can not do. Be supportive of his or her interests.

Have Realistic Expectations
Make sure your expectations fit your children's ages, backgrounds, and temperaments. Teach children how to set realistic goals for themselves and how to accomplish them.

Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes
Help your children understand that mistakes are a part of life and teach them not to feel defeated when they make one. When your children do make a mistake, help them learn from their experience by talking to them about what happened and what they could have done differently. Teach your children problem solving skills so they will know how to tackle challenges when they encounter them.

Plan for Success
Create situations that minimize your child's chance of failure by breaking down complex tasks into a series of easy to follow steps and provide plenty of opportunities for guided practice and training.

Give Lots of Encouragement
Recognize your children's efforts and improvements rather than only their accomplishments. Help your children develop their talents and strengths. Also, encourage self-appreciation and positive self-talk in your children.

Be Generous with Praise
Get into the habit of looking for situations in which your child is doing something well or displaying a talent. Then praise him or her about what you saw.

Give Choices
Help children develop a sense of ownership and responsibility by allowing them to make some of their own choices. These choices should be appropriate for the children's ages and levels of maturity.

Give Children Responsibilities
Give children opportunities to help with household chores. Do not do for your children what they can do for themselves.

Show Your Children Love and Acceptance
The first and most important step to building a healthy self-esteem in children is showing them that they are loved and accepted by the most important adults in their lives-their parents. Children must feel secured that they are loved even when they behave badly.

Help Children Realize Their Attributes
Help your children discover their special talents and qualities. Once they identify the things that make them unique, they need to learn to value them.

Enjoy Your Children
Spend time with your children. Do things together as a family but also ensure that each child has some individual time with you on a regular basis. Spending time one on one allows your child to share his thoughts and feelings openly. During this time, parents should listen carefully to the things their child says, and provide lots of praise and encouragement.

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