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Helping Your Child Build a Healthy Self-Esteem

As a parent, one of your responsibilities is to ensure the proper development of your child. Your goal is for your child to grow up healthy not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. You can help your child become healthy physically by making sure he eats nutritious foods, engages in sports and other physical activities that can strengthen his bones and muscles, and sees his pediatrician regularly for checkups and vaccinations.

On the other hand, you can help your child become healthy emotionally and mentally by starting with helping him develop a healthy self-esteem. Parents want their children to be self-assured; after all, a child with a healthy self-esteem is a child who is secure, happy, confident, well-adjusted and successful. These children are able to deal with the problems they encounter. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure you build your child’s self-esteem by providing him with your nurturing care.

So how do you help your child build a healthy self-esteem? First of all, make your child know that you accept him for who he is, flaws and all. Let your child know whenever possible that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as he realizes what he’s done and learns from his mistakes. Instead of scolding your child when he does something wrong, hug him and in a firm voice, tell him what he did was wrong, and in a much gentle voice, tell him you love him.

Children who have a healthy self-esteem are able to learn from their mistakes and put those lessons to use later on. Children with low self-esteem resort to self-depreciation, often calling themselves stupid and resolving never to try something like that again (whatever it is they failed at or did wrong).

Encourage your child to pursue his interests and develop his talents. Don’t hold back on your praises. Praise your child if you see him improve in his abilities or skills, and praise him for his natural traits. Give your child opportunities to make positive choices. Create an open atmosphere in your home, one that invites your child to have honest dialogs with you and discuss possibilities, as well as the advantages and disadvantages and consequences of his choices. When you help your child learn the skills for making positive choices while he is still young, he will be well-equipped to face the tougher choices when he is older.

Spend quality time with your child despite your busy schedule at work. Quality time does not necessarily mean an hour or more spent with your child. Your work days may be hectic, but you can still squeeze in some quality time even if they are only for a few minutes. For instance, you can talk to your child while you’re driving him to or picking him up from school, loading the dishwasher and he is doing his homework, putting away the groceries, washing the car, or preparing food. Your child’s self-esteem is greatly helped if he knows you care enough to know what is going on with his life, are there to listen to what he thinks and feels, support him in what he does, and encourage him all the time to make the right choices.