Developing healthy self-esteem in kids

Developing healthy self-esteem in kids

Help your child develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.

High self-esteem is associated with solid problem-solving skills.

For example, if your child is having difficulty with a friend, you can ask her to think about ways of solving the situation. Don't worry if your child can't think of solutions immediately. You can help her reflect upon possible solutions. You can also try role-playing situations to help demonstrate the steps involved in problem solving.

- Avoid comments that are judgmental. Frame them in more positive terms instead.

For example, a comment that often sounds accusatory is, Try harder and put in more of an effort.

Many children do try hard but still have difficulty. Instead, you can say, we have to figure out better strategies to help you learn. Children are less defensive when the problem is cast as strategies that must be changed rather than as something deficient with their motivation. This approach also reinforces problem-solving skills.

- Be empathetic:

Out of frustration, many well-meaning parents have been heard to say things such as why don't you listen to me? or why don't you use your brain?.

If your child has difficulty with learning, be empathetic and tell your child that you know he's having difficulty. Then you can cast the difficulty into a problem to be solved and involve your child in thinking about possible solutions.

- Provide choices:

This will minimise power struggles. For example, ask your child if she'd like to be reminded five or ten minutes before bedtime to get ready for bed. These beginning choices help to set the foundation for a feeling of control over one's life.

- Don't compare:

It's important not to compare siblings but to highlight the strengths of your children.

- Provide opportunities for children to help.

Children have an inborn need to help others. Providing opportunities for children to help is a very concrete way of displaying their islands of competence and of highlighting that they have something to offer their world. Involving them in charity work is just one possible example. Helping others will boost a child's self-esteem.

- Have realistic expectations and goals. These provide your child with a sense of control. The development of self-control goes hand-in-glove with self-esteem.

(Source: The Coordinated Campaign For Learning Disabilities and Dr Robert Brooks)


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