5 Ways to Help your Children Develop Self-Esteem
All parents know that it’s important for their children to develop healthy self-esteem. Fostering positive self-esteem in children encourages them to try new things, take healthy risks, and solve problems. But how can parents best help their children? Try these five tips:
- Say, “Thanks!” often. Don’t take anything your children do for granted. Instead view it as an opportunity to praise them. When they clear the table, do homework, practice the piano, or feed the dog, say, “Thanks!” The words you say to your children are powerful. Showing gratitude for the small things your children do helps them feel good about themselves and motivates them to repeat the behavior you want.
- Praise progress. It’s instinctive to praise children when they succeed at a goal; however, it is just as crucial to praise children for small steps of progress. Praising effort can be very motivating and encourage your children to try hard in the future. With continued encouragement, children will develop more confidence and are likely to be more willing to optimistically face challenges.
- Don’t compare your children. Each of your children are different and special in their own unique ways. Comparing your children discourages them and makes them feel as though they are not as good as their sibling, which ultimately causes resentment. Always keep your expectations for success in line with each child’s abilities and interests.
- Avoid sarcasm (even as a joke). Most children do not have the ability understand the context and meaning of sarcastic comments. Respond to your children with sincere empathy so that they feel a sense of belonging and emotionally secure.
- Use praise effectively. Use praise to encourage them to engage in positive behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. Be enthusiastic and sincere while pairing the praise words with a specific behavior. For example, instead of saying, “Good job,” say, “Good job doing your homework as soon as I asked.”