By Traci L. Carman
Self-esteem is such an important part of a child’s life. It can make or break their life experience, and it is so much harder to rebuild if it is lost. It will impact their school years, their work life, and their relationships at the core. It can be the difference between reaching for the stars and following their dreams, or not dreaming at all.
We want the most for our children. Here are three simple ways to feed your child’s self-esteem on a daily basis:
- Seek to understand them, rather than criticizing. Our children are not always going to please us. They will not always make the best choices. As they grow up, they will explore the world around them, in their way. When they disappoint you, seek to understand where they are coming from, rather than jumping in to criticize, scold or punish. You want to find out where they have holes in their understanding, not simply inform them that they did something wrong. Then you are in a position to help them fill in the gaps. When you seek to understand them, they will feel that you care. This builds trust. Trust creates stability.Stability creates higher self-esteem.
- Praise everything possible. Whether they are potty training, learning to make their bed, doing homework, cleaning, or simply show up with a great attitude, look for opportunities to praise your child and build their self-esteem. They will feel lifted up, and want to do more. Everyone wins.
- Welcome questions. Be an open door for your child. There are so many things that children are curious about as they are growing up. If they can’t ask you, they will ask someone else. Be there to provide the information they are seeking. If they can come to you without being judged, and you are not too busy to be present with them, you will have created a bridge that will span into the teenage years (and beyond), when they really need the guidance and your solid shoulder to lean on.
As your children get settled back into school, be sure you connect each day to find out how things are going with their teachers, friends and other students. Watch to make sure they are thriving, and not simply surviving the school year. Look for signs of happiness or depression, frustration or excitement. The sooner you catch a problem, the easier it is to correct.