12 Easy Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem
“I can’t do anything right!” That’s what my little cousin used to think of herself before she received help from her parents. She used to suffer from low self-esteem, but she learned to have a balanced view of her worth.
Today, we will show you 12 things you can do to boost your child’s self-esteem! But first, let’s discuss what self-esteem is and why it is important to help your kid have a balanced view of himself. Let’s dive right in!
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What Is Self-Esteem?
How can you explain to your child what self-esteem is? You can tell him the following.
Self-esteem means that you mostly feel good about yourself.
Children with good self-esteem:
- feel proud of what they are capable of doing,
- see the positive things about themselves,
- believe in themselves, even when they don’t succeed at first,
- feel valued and accepted,
- accept themselves, even if they make mistakes,
Having low self-esteem means that one does not feel good about oneself.
Children with low self-esteem:
- do not believe they are as good as others,
- don’t feel valued or accepted,
- think more about the times they fail than about the times they do things right,
- do not see the positive things they have or the beautiful qualities they have,
- are hard on themselves and give up easily.
Finally, you can ask your child, “Which of these descriptions most closely resembles you?” Allow them to open up.
The Importance of Self-Esteem
One way to help your child build his self-esteem is to help him to understand its importance. Here are three ideas for you to think about.
- Self-esteem gives people the courage to try new things, or to make new friends. With self-esteem, people believe in themselves. They know that positive things can happen to them when they try. Self-esteem helps when things don’t go as you expected. It helps people accept mistakes. If a person missed a goal or lost a library book, he may not get too mad at him. He will just try again. He will look for ways to do better in the future.
- Low self-esteem makes children feel insecure. They don’t believe they can do things well. When children have low self-esteem, they may not try hard. They may not go after their goals. They may be afraid to fail. Low self-esteem makes failure look worse than it really is. It makes it hard to forget things that went wrong. Instead of trying again, children with low self-esteem may give up.
- Self-esteem can start with the things parents say to their children when they are very young. A parent may say to his or her child when he or she is still a baby, “Look what you are able to do – you’re walking on your own!” Listening to praise and positive things makes a kid feel good and proud of himself.
The big question is, how can you help your child have a balanced view of his worth? Let’s discuss that in more detail.
How to Build a Child’s Self-Esteem
According to mental health professionals, lacking self-esteem may, in part, be the result of distorted thoughts.
What can you do about it? Help your child open up. Choose a quiet time and place. Then ask specific questions like, ‘What makes you feel that way about yourself?’ Give the child a chance to talk about his or her feelings.
Doing so will give you an opportunity to understand your child’s exact view of himself so that you can help him out.
Here are some typical distorted thoughts that cause low self-esteem and what you can do to help your child overcome them.
Dealing with Negative Thoughts
1. Teach Your Child That Mistakes Are Part of Learning
Some children may see things in black-and-white categories. If their performance falls short of perfection, they tend to see themselves as a total failure. Help your child mentally challenge the validity of his thoughts.
When teaching Spanish, I like to use this illustration to help my students see mistakes in a balanced way. I tell them the following.
Think of a 2-year-old baby saying, “Mama, water.” Would that phrase be considered grammatically correct? Of course not, but the parents are happy, and not mad because of the baby’s mistake because what he just said is proof of his learning.
I have noticed that teaching my students a balanced view of mistakes increases their self-esteem and helps them learn Spanish better.
2. Teach Your Kid to Avoid Overgeneralization
Some kids see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of problems. For example, after an argument with a friend, some kids may conclude: ‘I will lose all my friends. Nothing turns out right for me.’
Help your child to think through the accuracy of what he has just said. Encourage him to do the following.
When he catches himself using words like “always” or “never,” ask him to stop and ask himself if those words are accurate. He can replace that overly broad language with something more realistic.
3. Teach Your Kid Not to Jump to Conclusions
Some kids arbitrarily conclude that someone doesn’t like them, and they don’t bother to check this out. Or they are absolutely convinced that things will always turn out badly.
How can you help them? Try the following:
- Encourage them to check the facts.
- Teach them to challenge their thinking. Is there another explanation that would also make sense?
- Teach them to ask questions. Communication can eliminate a lot of confusion.
- Teach them to take another perspective. Encourage them to think about the situation from the point of view of an outsider.
4. Teach You Kid to Avoid Magnification or Minimization
Some children exaggerate the importance of things or play down things until they appear tiny. They make disasters out of commonplace negative events.
The key to dealing with these distorted thoughts is to be aware that they happen. When you realize that your kid is magnifying a situation, encourage him to pause and reassess the situation.
5. Teach Your Kid to Accept Positive Experiences
Some kids reject positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t count” or, that “they are not worthy of such.” By dwelling on a single negative detail, they distort their view and become saddened.
This situation can occur because of low self-esteem. How can you help your child bolster it? Let’s take a look at some goals you can help your child reach that can help him fight low self-esteem.
Fighting Your Child’s Low Self-esteem
Feeling concerned about his appearance, reputation and abilities can make a child have feelings of insecurity.
Some try to hide their low self-esteem through rebellion, but there are better ways to cope with such feelings.
Here are some more things you can do to help your child fight low self-esteem!
6. Help Him Set Realistic Goals
Help your child set goals that are attainable. How about learning to play a musical instrument or speak another language?
Spanish is one of the most spoken languages around the world. Why don’t you encourage your child to learn Spanish?
The top Spanish educators I trust is Homeschool Spanish Academy. It’s an academy based in Guatemala, and I like the teachers because:
- They are all certified Spanish teachers.
- They are all native Spanish speakers based in Antigua, Guatemala.
- They all receive constant, extra training in-house.
Once your child has achieved a goal, whether it is learning another language or acquiring any other skill, he will surely feel self-respect. Without a doubt, self-respect is the result of accomplishing a goal.
7. Help Him Do Things for Others
A doctor called Allan Fromme noticed that people who focus on other people have a better image of themselves. He claims that since they are paying attention to others, they focus less on themselves.
The more your child gets involved with other people, the less he will think about his own feelings.
Some studies indicate that people who help others suffer less from depression and build their own self-esteem.
8. Help Him Acknowledge His Positive Qualities
Help your child to make a real effort to identify his positive qualities. Some questions your child can ask himself are:
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I care about?
- How have I helped other people?
You can also encourage your child to ask a good friend about his good qualities. That friend will surely see things that your child probably does not see in himself.
9. Help Him Not to Be Afraid to Be Different
Help your child understand that every person is different, looks different, speaks differently, and thinks differently.
Help him to stand up for his principles and not give in to peer pressure. Some examples of negative peer pressure are:
- Needing to dress or behave in a certain way
- Being pressured to let others copy your work
- Being asked to not include certain people in social activities
- Being asked to take dangerous risks when driving
- Being asked to use drugs or alcohol
You can help your child hand negative peer pressure and not be afraid to be different. How? Here are a few strategies.
- Teach him how to respond to different situations.
- Help him to find friends who have similar values.
- Show him that he can trust you and communicate with you.
Some parents like to do crafts with their kids so that they open up and communicate with them. Here are a few ideas you can put into practice.
Easy and Quick Self-Esteem Crafts
10. Rain of Ideas
Show your kid two pictures. Show him a picture of a girl or a boy who is smiling, and then, show your child a picture of a kid who is sad.
Ask him questions like
- Why do you think this kid is happy?
- What makes you happy?
- Why do you think this kid is sad?
- What makes you sad?
- What do you think can help you fight those feelings?
Let your child open up. If you catch him having distorted thoughts, help him fight them.
11. Write a Self-Esteem Journal
Writing an emotional diary is one of the most effective tools to have high self-esteem. It is an inexpensive and very useful tool.
How can you help your child write one?
First, buy him a journal that he likes. It will motivate him to write.
Second, help your child find a good place to write his emotional journal. Help him find a place where he feels comfortable and calm. For example, he can write his journal while sitting at his desk and listening to music he likes in the background.
He does not need to write every day. Otherwise, he may feel overwhelmed. Writing for two days a week may be enough.
Encourage your child to include any of the following in his diary:
- things I am grateful for today
- things I like about myself
- things I want to do
- things I am proud of
- things I am good at
- things I like about my character
- compliments others have said about me
- things I need to overcome
- things I like about my body
12. Create a Self-Love Flower
To make this craft you only need a few materials:
- Colored paper
First, grab a piece of paper and cut out a circle. That circle will be the center of the flower.
Start by marking with the pencil on the colored paper some stripes that are about 2 cm wide. If you would like your flowers to have more than 6 petals, I recommend that the stripes be narrower.
Encourage your child to write something positive about himself in each stripe. Each stripe will serve as a petal.
To make the petals is very simple. Simply fold all the stripes and stick the ends. Stick the stripes to the circle you cut out at the beginning. Write the name of your child in the circle, which will serve as the center of the flower, and that’s it!
Your child can place that decorative craft in his room and be reminded of his positive qualities every day.
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