“Self-esteem is the mainspring that slates every child for success or failure as a human being,” then a crucial job for every parent and every teacher is affirming and building self-esteem in each child. As parents, our responsibility is even greater than that of a teacher’s, who comes in at a very close second, because we are the single most significant influence in our children’s lives.
Why is it important?
You may be wondering why it is so important to build a child’s self-esteem. A child’s self-esteem begins to be formed very early, and continues being created day by day.
Self-esteem comes from learning to accept who we are by seeing the insufficiencies and still choosing to like ourselves. Every child’s self-esteem grows with each experience of successful interactions through positive words. It is important to build a child’s belief that they can handle their life and handle it well.
Children with low self-esteem have a difficult time dealing with problems, are overly self-critical, and can become passive, withdrawn, and depressed. They may hesitate to try new things, may speak negatively about themselves, are easily frustrated, and often see temporary problems as permanent conditions. They are pessimistic about themselves and their life.
How does self-esteem happen?
Self-esteem comes from different sources for children at different stages of development. The development of self-esteem in young children is heavily influenced by parental attitudes and behavior. Supportive parental behavior, including encouragement and praise for accomplishments, as well as the child’s internalization of the parents’ own attitudes toward success and failure, are the most powerful factors in the development of self-esteem in early childhood. As children get older their experiences outside the home, in school, and with peers, become increasingly important in determining their self-esteem.
Schools can influence their students’ self-esteem through the attitudes they foster toward competition and diversity and their recognition of achievement in academics, sports, and the arts. By middle childhood, friendships have assumed a pivotal role in a child’s life. Studies have shown that school-age youngsters spend more time with their friends than they spend doing homework, watching television, or playing alone. In addition, the amount of time in which they interact with their parents is greatly reduced from when they were younger. At this stage, social acceptance by a child’s peer group plays a major role in developing and maintaining self-esteem.
Building self-esteem Building self-esteem
Here are five simple yet important steps that parents and teachers alike can take to build self-esteem:
– Listen to and acknowledge your child’s thoughts and feelings.
– Create situations that help your child experience success, not failure. Set clear and appropriate expectations, offer reasonable amounts of help, provide adequate incentives and remove obstacles.
– Give your child a feeling of reasonable control over their life.
– Reinforce that your child is lovable and capable.
– Show your child that you have a positive view of yourself.