Raising Your Child's Self-Esteem

Written by Elizabeth Pantley

Advice on giving your child love and self-esteem. If your kid's a troublemaker, a poor self-image may be the cause. Learn how love, patience and positive thinking can help.

As parents, we naturally love our child with all our heart, and it tears us apart if our child doesn't love himself. In kids low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence often masquerade as negative behavior.

Luckily, parents can have a tremendous effect on how a child sees himself. Elizabeth Pantley, author of Perfect Parenting, offers practical suggestions for raising your child's self-esteem.

More Practical Parenting articles by Elizabeth Pantley:
I Caught Them Playing Doctor
Listen With Your Heart
Are We There Yet?  
Love is the wind beneath their wings: The foundation for healthy self-esteem is the feeling of unconditional love and approval a child feels from his parents. As children navigate the rocky road to adulthood, they need large, obvious doses of this kind of love. Make sure you're showing your child this kind of love on a daily basis.

Skills boost esteem: Help your child discover his talents and the things he's good at. Allow him to try various sports, hobbies and activities. Encourage him to apply himself to those things he enjoys and seems skilled at. Accomplishment builds self-confidence. Self-confidence builds self-esteem.

Watch this video on getting your child to ask the deeper questions.

Being helpful equals being confident: Assign your child household chores. Chores help a child feel like a capable, responsible member of the family. Doing chores promotes a feeling of being trusted, skilled and important.

Life's lessons: Don't hover, protect and rescue your child. Let him learn through his trials, his struggles, and his mistakes. A child's greatest sense of accomplishment comes through personal effort, and personal success.

Praise, praise, praise: A child creates an image of himself largely through input from others, especially his parents. When you notice something worth praising, use descriptive statements to compliment your child such as, "You sure stuck with that project until it was complete. That takes persistence and stamina!"

Choose your words carefully: You may have heard your parents say, "What is the matter with you?" and now you repeat it to your child without much thought to the punch behind the words. Look for alternatives that more clearly describe your intended meaning.

Teach positive thinking: Gently correct his pessimistic statements. When he says, "I can't do it." Respond, "Take your time and try again, I have confidence in you." If he mutters, "I'm so clumsy. I'll never learn to roller blade." Say, "It's tough to learn something new. Remember how much you fell when you first put on skis? Now you're a better skier than I am!"

Related Items
Raising Self-Confidant Children
Choosing the Perfect Partner

Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999

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