Fostering Self-Esteem in Children

Young girl with flowers laughing and chatting on smartphone, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Self-esteem is an integral part of our personalities. It sets the foundation for everything we are, for our relationships and our future! Helping your child grow up with positive self-esteem is one of the most meaningful things you can do as a parent.

In order to develop positive self-esteem, children need to feel accepted. This means that they need to feel accepted through their good and bad. A child is always good. Sometimes they make poor choices, but it is always important to remember that bad choices do not make a “bad child.” Discipline should follow this important principle.

Realistic expectations and discipline will help your child develop positive self-esteem because choice and decision-making will be emphasized. Allow your child to decide and learn by discussing the behavior and the choices made, not the child.

Validate your child and his/her feelings and opinions. Your child is special and appreciated – let them know! Avoid judgmental comments and reflect on choices.

Let your child initiate play because this will hold their attention more than an activity chosen for them. They will also develop their self-efficacy and hold positive ideas about themselves and you: “Daddy likes to do, what I like to do!” Are you bored of reading the same story over and over again with your child? Ask your child about their opinion of the story, so now you both can explore your own twists.

We are social beings. Children need friends and same-age peers. You can foster your child’s socialization by making your home a kid-friendly place. Sure, you’ll have more messes to clean up, but hosting will allow you to monitor your child, screen their friends, and you will learn even more about your child’s personality and socialization.

Overall, remember that your children are a mirror image of you. Heal your own past, don’t be too hard on your parents, and set the example you want your children to follow. For additional tips, resources, and/or questions about child services, call Switchboard of Miami at 2-1-1 and ask for Help Me Grow!