5 tips to help children build their self esteem
Last week, my son Tarik made the school soccer team. He was very proud of himself and I was proud of him too. I couldn’t stop saying “Good job! You’re the best!” I beamed, he beamed, and all seemed right with the world.
A few days later he played a match and failed to score any goals. He came home feeling down and said he was not good enough to be in the team. I could not understand how his self-esteem could drop so much based on a single negative event.
Looking at this situation, I started thinking: how can we parents build our kids’ self-esteem so that it cannot be affected by any outside events, here’s what I found out…
How kids feel about themselves often depends on what is going on in their life – what is going on outside of them. However, powerful self-esteem isn’t based on what is going on outside of us. Powerful self-esteem is based on what is going on inside of us -- who we are and how we think about ourselves.
When kids base their self-esteem on “who they are”, then their self-esteem can remain intact no matter what is going on in their lives.
Comparison is dangerous because it creates jealousy, resentment, and a belief system of “not good enough”
Here are some valuable tips for helping your kids develop solid self-esteem that doesn’t rise and fall with the ups and downs of life:
- Speak with your child about self-esteem and teach them that self-esteem is based on who they are, not what they do.
- Teach your child how to separate the results of an event from who they are. For example, if they fail a test, it doesn’t mean they are a failure. It just means they didn’t learn the material well enough to get the right answers. Let your child know that it’s OK to feel down; however, there is a difference between feeling down about a bad grade and feeling down about himself because of a bad grade.
- Teach your child about the dangers of comparison. When kids see themselves as “better than” or “less than” another, they are looking externally to determine how to feel about themselves. This compromises their self-esteem because they will feel good about themselves whenever they see themselves as “better than” another and they will feel bad about themselves every time they see themselves as “less than” another. This also creates jealousy, resentment, and a belief system of “not good enough”.
- Encourage your child to honor their own uniqueness. Have your child talk about what they love about themselves – from their values, to their character, to their gifts and talents. When kids focus on what they love about themselves, their self-esteem will soar.
- Talk with your child about the power of positive self-talk. What they say to themselves is more important than what anyone else says to them. Self-esteem grows, when kids talk to themselves with love, compassion, and support.
Powerful self-esteem is based on what is going on inside of us -- who we are and how we think about ourselves.
Finally remember that no matter how much we love our kids or how much time we spend with them, we can’t give them self-esteem, but what we can do is help them develop it in themselves. Start this week by sharing these tips.