As parents, when you have more than one child, especially with an age gap of 3-5 years you can tell the difference in their behaviors. Everything one does is different from the other. This age gap is crucial in understanding how children while growing up tend to learn and reflect by observing adults. In a child’s first three years, he/she forms opinions and expectations of himself, deciding if he/she is important, if he/she is valued, and if he/she is capable. By the time children are three years old, children develop a concrete way of viewing themselves with labels like “short or tall,” “boy or girl,” or “good or bad.” Now that it’s clear that your reaction can affect your children in a big way, ask yourself this: “Are you as a parent that deals with day to day situations which your child goes through in an optimistic way?”
Imagine your child on a sports day, he/she is all set for their big day. You brought them new shoes and they are excited to run. You are at the school playground, sitting in the stands watching them take position and even you are excited and want to cheer for them in a loud voice. You strongly wish that they finish first. The time has come. All participants have taken their position. The referee is about to blow the whistle. As the time comes, you as a parent are starting to get mixed feelings about the race now. Suddenly all you hear is an alarming sound of the whistle and in literally no time you can see your kid running on the muddy tracks. You are optimistic and worried at the same time. While you roll your eyes in the direction of the finish line in sync with your kid you see him fall, he gets up and is now way behind everyone else. He searches for you amongst a big number of people cheering in the stands. You look at him and find that he is looking at you with a low spirit. The race is over, he finishes but last. You are driving home and while conversing about what just happened, your kid is sad and very disheartened about what happened and blames himself. How will you handle this situation?
Having strong self-esteem is essential as your child grows up. As your child gets older, he/she will face many challenges and having a healthy self-esteem is essential for making safe and healthy choices. Thus, it is extremely important for your child to know he/she is worth a lot. It is inarguable that a child is more likely to develop positive self-esteem when his/her parents are caring and nurturing, showing through their actions and words that they are important and capable.
While it’s important for parents to take an active role in boosting their child’s self esteem, parents also need to teach their children how to take responsibility for their own feelings and sense of self-esteem and most important teaching cleanliness from an early age. Providing your child with this information and support will help give him the confidence and decision making skills needed to have a healthy sense of self-esteem which reduces risks for social, emotional, and academic difficulties.
How can parents, families, and caregivers ensure that they promote the development of children’s self-esteem?
- Demonstrate and express genuine interest in your children.
By expressing a genuine interest in your children you not only get to be friends with them but you also indirectly show them that you care about their likes, dislikes and other views about life.
- Engage them in age-appropriate activities that encourage problem-solving.
A mistake which most parents tend to do is forcing their children into their own likes and dislikes. You should rather opt for letting your child explore his interests and be free from an unnecessary external pressure. This does not mean that you stop caring. You always lend a hand when he needs one the most.
Parents are often quick to express negative feelings to their kids, but for some reason share their positive feelings with more difficulty. Your child isn’t always sure when you are feeling proud of him/her, so they especially need to hear from you frequently that you’re happy with them and their actions & choices.Children remember the positive things we tell them. They actually store them up and repeat our encouraging words to themselves, which makes them feel loved and wanted.
All children need to accept responsibility for their behavior, and learning self-discipline is a very important aspect of growing up. To help children learn self-discipline, the parent should approach their role in this aspect of their child’s development by acting as a coach/teacher, rather than a disciplinarian/punisher. When you are fair, firm and friendly when dealing with your child, you will help them accept responsibility for their behavior (both bad and good) without making them feel bad and guilty about their behavior. They need to be taught from their mistakes and not ridiculed for them.
- Laugh with your children and encourage them to laugh at themselves.
This is very important to ensure your child builds his/her own self confidence. People who take themselves too seriously are certainly missing out on a lot of fun in life! A good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself is important. Make sure you lead by example and let your kids know it’s okay to laugh at your own mistakes!
Apart from these things there are a few everyday things that you do which can help your child believe in themselves:
- Give meaningful, positive feedback rather than empty praise and flattery, spelling out the accomplishment that you are commenting about rather than just saying “good job.”
- Be a positive role model. Display optimism, honesty, and compassion so your children can mirror your positive behavior.
- Help your child develop positive beliefs about himself, whether they are about his appearance, his skills, or his achievements.
- Create a safe, loving home and family environment.
The purpose of this article was to educate parents so that they keep encouraging their children and let them know that they need to trust themselves. This motivates them and gives them a better ability to think productively by making use of positive thinking skills when faced with a challenge. In addition, encouraging them makes them more resilient and this allows them to successfully execute and complete their tasks.