Self-esteem is one of the many important things that all parents want to provide for their children and yet many seem to feel that they do not know how and what to do in raising a self-confident child. Very often self-esteem seems to be such a fragile, distant thing that many know but yet do not know how to develop it. Your self-esteem is a compilation of how you feel about yourself. It encompasses everything from your confidence in relationships, to your body image, to your work life. So how do we foster this thing called self-esteem in your child?
From time memorial, all of us have been taught honesty is the best policy. As much as we expect this to be practiced by our children, they do like to be reciprocated likewise. Children are highly sensitive and are able to sense it if and when you are not being honest. Hence, when it comes to dealing with a child's self-esteem it is best to be honest. For example, if art is not your child's forte, do not compliment saying that his or her drawing is the best you have ever seen. Your child will know it is not, and will not believe you the next time you say something meant to be positive, no matter how honest it is. You may like to try instead to tell your child something genuine about the piece of artwork or about the effort that has been spent. It is best to make non-judgmental statements such as, I see you have used your imagination in creating the flowers in many different colors.The statement is simply an observation rather than a false statement.
It is also important to understand that your child and your child's behavior are two separate things. This is not something easy to remember especially in situations when your child is acting out in ways that make you mad or that are unsafe. However, when disciplining your child for the behavior rather than the person, you can positively influence and foster self esteem. Why? If your child feels that you are mad because of him or her as a person rather than for the behavior, this can negatively affect his or her self-esteem. Try using statements to help with this. Say something like,"I do not like it when you leave you leave your toys scattered all over the floor." This addresses the behavior, rather than "You are a slob!" which attacks the character.
Letting a child make some choices is a good way for them to learn to be less dependent on others. Most children are constantly in situations where they are told what to do, when to do it, where to go, what to eat and many more. When children are given the opportunity to make some choices, regardless of how insignificant these may be, they learn to be self-reliant. As a parent, you would not want your children growing up feeling dependant on others for direction, would you? Simple everyday choices like what to wear (you can offer two or three choices) or choosing a special lunch item will foster your child to think independently.
In helping to boost your child's self-confidence, it is important that as parents, we must encourage them to develop their talents as well as to try out new things. Trying out new things help to overcome fears of the unknown and at the same time allows us to learn to deal with success and failure. If a child is never given the chance to try out new things, this can possibly create problems later in life. After all, we live in a world that is ever changing! Life is never constant, whether it is a move to a new city or starting a new career. Children who are experienced at trying new things, even if small, will find that life's bigger transitions like leaving for college and starting a career - are much easier to handle.
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