Self-esteem is how we see and feel about ourselves. It is the degree to which we feel accepted and valued by people who are significant to us, as well as how we value ourselves. Self-esteem is developed within a person, as well as shaped by people around us. The development of a high self-esteem and a positive sense of self are important to being independent, confident and resilient to challenges.
A child with high self-esteem accepts and feels proud of one’s achievements. A confident child will be more willing to try new activities or challenges and to learn from their experiences. Consequently, the child will learn to make good decisions and set goals as well as looks forward to a positive future. In contrast, children with low self-esteem tend to act in ways that confirm that they are ‘not good enough’ and it will take much effort to show them that they are better than what they perceived themselves to be.
The key to building your child’s self-esteem is to send clear messages to your child about his or her strengths and that he or she is loved unconditionally. Generally, you can help enhance your child's self-esteem by helping your child attain feelings of self-satisfaction through developing a sense of trust and connectedness, uniqueness, as well as achievement and control.
Refers to feelings that one can trust, rely and feel connected to significant people around us. Children need to be able to trust and depend on others (parents and adults) to learn to trust themselves. They also need a safe and supportive environment to explore and learn new things. Children also do better when parents and adults provide clear guidance and boundaries to teach them socially appropriate behaviours, how to cope with stresses and to problem solve.
Refers to knowing that one has individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as personal opinions and contribution to the world around oneself. Children with good self-esteem and a sense of uniqueness have self-respect and enjoy being ‘themselves’.
Refers to knowing that one has skills, is able to make decisions in life and has adaptive skills to cope with stressful situations. If your child believes that he or she is able to achieve their goals, the he or she is likely to have a good sense of achievement and control.
Characteristics that reflect and enhance confidence is also helpful as children associate with significant people in their lives as role models. Confident children usually grow up among people who are confident themselves. Take time to nurture and support your child to develop into a confident individual.
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