It’s totally normal for kids to have a decrease in self-esteem from time to time. Whether it’s feeling self-conscious about their looks or worrying about their abilities at school, children will often find themselves with a negative self-image.
However, if you think your child has consistent low self-esteem that doesn’t appear to be improving, there are many reasons for why this can occur. Traumatic events such as divorce, the death of a loved one or being bullied are all catalysts for low self-esteem that can be extremely difficult for a child to bounce back from. And, when paired with the constant modern-day pressures kids are now facing, the ups and downs of life may be more intense for them than you’d perhaps think.
But, as a parent, there are plenty of ways in which you can help improve your child’s self-esteem and confidence. If you feel your child is suffering from low self-esteem for longer than deemed normal and want to know how you can help, here are some top do’s and don’ts you can start using right away to give them a much-needed boost.
Encourage them to achieve their goals
Too often kids try something new these days and quit if they experience the slightest failure. Teaching your children not to quit too quickly from a young age is vital in helping them understand the concept of making mistakes and learning from them.
Whether it’s encouraging them to continue with a sport that they enjoy but might not have perfected their skills in yet, or simply ensuring they get their homework done by a specific time, they’ll be developing their sense of ‘not giving up’ which is a key quality present in those with high self-esteem.
But that being said, it’s important to make sure your child’s goals are realistic for their age and abilities. After all, if they’re trying super hard to achieve something that would be almost impossible anyway, they’re essentially setting themselves up for failure which won’t benefit anyone.
Whilst self-esteem often originates from feeling secure and loved by those close to you, giving your kids too much encouragement and praise can actually cause more harm than good.
If you repeatedly give your child praise even when they’re not actually achieving anything, you’re essentially telling them they don’t need to push themselves to achieve their desired outcome. Confidence inherently comes from making mistakes and learning from them so, if you consistently shower your child with praise even when they haven’t necessarily done anything to deserve it, they’ll struggle to understand the concept of working hard and accepting failure as they get older.
Give personalized gifts
Whilst we’ve just emphasized how important it is not to overpraise your kids, there’s no harm in giving them a treat once in a while. Especially when suffering from low self-esteem, kids need to be reminded that they are special and are just as deserving of a positive sense of self than everyone else.
As opposed to giving your kids generic gifts that would suit anyone, opting for personalized items instead will enable you to give them something one-of-a-kind – guaranteed to make them feel special.
From books to toys to bedroom storage, there’s a huge array of personalized gifts perfect for kids. For more inspiration, take a look at Makaboo.com/personalized-toys-and-games.
Let them take risks
Whilst, as a parent, your natural instinct will be to shield your kids from harm, it’s important to let them take risks (within reason!) and make their own decisions. In addition to making mistakes and learning from them, confidence is also developed from accepting responsibility and dealing with the consequences of their actions.
So, if you see your child doing something they perhaps shouldn’t be doing, as long as it isn’t going to harm them or anyone else it’s important to resist the temptation to jump in and simply let them get on with it. Then, if they end up spilling something or creating a mess, it will then be their responsibility to solve the problem.
Problem-solving and fixing bad decisions is something we all have to deal with as adults so, if your kids get a grasp of this early in life, they’ll likely have increased confidence which will, in turn, improve their self-esteem.
Going through periods of low self-esteem can happen to anyone of any age, including children. But, if you think your child is feeling unconfident and negative on a lengthy basis, following the above methods will be a great starting point for you to help!
Jamie Newton is a Dad who is an occasional contributor to parenting blogs when time allows! He has been happily married for 15 years and enjoys sharing some of his wisdom around the web.