Self-esteem is the belief we have about ourselves, our own self perception of who we are and what we think of ourselves. What we think about ourselves and our belief in our capabilities will directly and indirectly influence our motivation, attitude, behavior, and our emotional and physical aspects of our life. It is therefore critical that we as parents ensure that we develop self-esteem in our children.
If a child has a healthy self-esteem, they become stronger and are able to handles the challenges and peer pressure that they will face growing up. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of confidence to be a kid. They are faced with new schools, new friends, bullies, pressure of keeping up with at least 25-30 other kids in the class, comparison with a sibling or cousin and overall pressure to keep up with everyone their age. As parents, we tend to forget sometimes how much pressure our kids have to deal with and we forget that each child is different. It is important that we are conscious about their feelings and continue to work on building an “I CAN” attitude in each of them. Kids develop confidence not because parents tell them they're great, but because of their achievements, big and small. Hearing encouraging words from mom and dad is a real benefit. But words of praise mean more when they refer to a child's specific efforts or new abilities.
Here's how you can play important role in promoting healthy self-esteem in your child.
Be conscious of the tone of voice, the body language and every expression you use in front of your child, they absorb everything. Avoid belittling comments or favoring one child over another or making comparisons with other kids and making them feel worthless.
Comments such as “what a stupid thing to do”, “why are you acting retarded”, or “why are you still not able to read like your brother did when he was your age”, are worse than physical blows. These emotional statements can be detriment for a lifetime. Be careful to choose your words, and be as compassionate as possible. Remember, we all make mistakes and no one is perfect.
Remand your child every day that you love them even when you do not love their behavior.