Kids have it tough these days! It seems you are required to know where you want to go to college and what you want to major in all by the time you are five years old. They are picked on, called names and generally bullied by other kids. They are bombarded with messages from the media that they are nothing if hey are not slim, rich, smart or famous. It is no wonder why kids suffer from self-esteem issues.
How Parents Can Help
I believe parents have the ability to foster healthy self-esteem in a child. These tips can make a big difference:
1. Be spontaneous and affectionate. Give them big bear hugs. Tell kids your love them and that you're proud of them - do this often. Genuinely loving and accepting your child will go a long way in boosting their self-esteem.
2. Watch what you say. Kids are watching you and learning from what you say. Donít criticize yourself or others if you donít what you kids to follow suit. Remember to praise your child for doing a good job whether or not is was a successful outcome. Sometimes effort counts too.
3. Be a positive role model. If you're extremely harsh on yourself, unrealistic or pessimistic about your own abilities and limitations, your child may eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem, for your sake as well as your childís.
4. Recognize when your child believes something that is false or harmful about themselves whether it is about their abilities, relationships or attractiveness and steer them and their beliefs in the right direction.
5. Create a safe, loving home for your children. Kids who have been abused or don't feel safe in an environment where they are supposed to feel nurtured will undoubtedly will suffer from low self-esteem.
6. Help kids become involved in different experiences. Activities that encourage adventure rather than inaction; cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in fostering self-esteem.
7. Teach them respect by showing them respect. Talk to them in the same manner you would talk to any one.
8. Develop an attitude of contribution. Self-esteem as well as resilience are nurtured when children are asked to contribute to others and their environment. Contribution can take many forms including household responsibilities or getting involved with their favorite local charity.
9. Celebrate your mistakes. Mistakes are a meant to be learning experiences not doom you to failure. When you try certain things and they donít work out, it is not a reason to give up but to look for another way to accomplish the task. After all, you didnít stop trying to learn to walk did you because of one fall?
10. Help them reach for the stars. Instead of telling them they canít do something, ask them how they intend to do it.
11. Spend time with your kids, preferably one at a time. Set aside a block of time each week where you are present with them -- doing what they like to do, listening to them. This will allow that special bond between a parent and child to continue and when they have problems they will come to you because they know you will listen and be there for them instead of turning to drugs or other not so ďdesirableĒ kids.
Healthy self-esteem is a child's defense against the challenges of the world. Kids who feel good about themselves have an easier time resisting negative temptations, handling conflicts and have healthy relationships. If you want this for your children, why not start today by building healthy self-esteem?