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Tips To Building Self Esteem In Children
want their child to have good self-esteem. However, self-esteem doesn’t
come naturally to children. It is something that must be fostered,
developed, nurtured and grown. Following these four tips can help.
Show them you value them
your children know you love them. This
is done through praise and through direct expressions of love, hugs, and
kisses. Children need to be told directly by their parents or caregiver
that they are loved. Children need to be held, cuddled, and played with. Quality and
quantity of time demonstrate valuing. Few things speak more to being
valued, then just being there.
Teach them and let them learn
is the next ingredient to healthy self-esteem. As the child grows and
begins exploring the house (often the kitchen cupboards) the child gains
the opportunity to increase competency with access and control of larger
objects over greater spaces. Again
the response of the parent is crucial.
Some parents structure the child's environment for maximum
exploration while other parents localize their child's area of living.
Either way, making way for the child to play and explore safely,
whatever the limits, is often referred to as "baby proofing". The greater the control and mastery of skills a child
develops the greater the sense of competency - the second ingredient to
can facilitate competency by providing safe areas for children to develop
skills and by allowing their children to participate in household
activities such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, making beds, etc.
The goal of these activities is for the child to develop a sense of
control - not the perfectionist pursuit of the best made bed, etc.
Participation should be fun, supportive or helpful.
Participate in doing good deeds
third thing parents can do to facilitate healthy self-esteem in their
children is to direct and participate with their children in the doing of
good deeds. Doing good deeds
teaches children to be aware of the life of others beyond themselves.
This enables the development of empathy and altruistic behaviour. What's important is that children are encouraged or even
positioned to be helpful to the extent of their ability.
The little one may carry a plastic cup to the table, the middle one
a plate and a spoon, while the big one can clear.
Special little projects can be undertaken, visits can be made, and
pennies can be put in the charity coin boxes at the check-out counter.
Make the rules of life clear
last thing parents can provide to facilitate self-esteem in their children
is structure. Structure is a
word that actually implies two separate concepts: routines and limits.
Routines provide structure over time and limits provide structure
way to think of structure is like the rules of a game. How well could you
play Monopoly, Hop Scotch, Tag, or Hide and Go Seek, if there weren't
rules? Rules include who goes
next, under which circumstances, and when. The rules also include what happens when someone goes outside
the normal bounds of play - miss a turn, pay a fine, etc.
the rules of the game of life is sometimes referred to as internalising
structure. This too is also a
form of competency - when the child knows the how’s, what’s, when’s,
and where’s, of life. Unfortunately
this information doesn't come automatically.
Children may pick some of the rules up incidentally as they go
along, but this leaves much to chance.
Parents can help their children internalise structure by commenting
on daily routines, specifying appropriate behaviour, providing feedback
and by providing consequences for undesirable behaviour.
These four ingredients, valuing, competency, good deeds, and structure form the basic building blocks for the development of self-esteem. And why develop self-esteem in children? Children with healthy self-esteem feel good about themselves, relate well to others, behave more appropriately and are more aware of the world around them.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
is a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, and the author of Raising
Kids Without Raising Cane. Gary not only helps people get along or feel
better about themselves, but also enjoys an extensive career in public
speaking. He provides insight on issues ranging from child behaviour
management and development; to family life; to socially responsible
business development. Courts in Ontario, Canada consider Gary an expert on
matters pertaining to child development, custody and access,
family/marital therapy and social work.
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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