How Self-esteem is Born
We cannot "give" our kids self-esteem. That's not how this works. We can give our kids lunch money, but cannot bestow confidence upon them, no matter how hard we try. It's not a tangible thing we can hand off to them or shove in their pocket as they head out to catch the school bus. If it were that easy, every kid would have it. And there are definitely some things we should avoid if we want our kids to develop healthy self-esteem. Read our wildly popular, 10 Things That Can Hurt Your Child's Self-esteem for more on that!
It's Not About "Telling" Them How Great They Are
Sure, we can tell our kids we think they are the "Bee's Knee's" or the BEST kiddo around, but that doesn't translate into solid self-esteem. Our kids need to feel it for themselves and come to believe it through the reflection they see of themselves in their relationships.
How Self-esteem is Born
What we can do is provide an environment in which every child feels loved, nurtured, listened to and important. We can help them learn to handle life's little upsets and disappointments and not try to sweep their feelings under the carpet or tell them to "forget about it", as we hand them a chocolate chip cookie.
Six Easy Concepts
An easy way to focus on giving our kids what they need is:
1. Provide Empathy
3. Support Interests
4. Praise Efforts, Not Outcomes
5. Teach Skills
6. Help Your Child Cope with Emotions
It's Easy...and Hard
Those things seem simple enough, right? I know! But they don't factor in parental stress, a bad day at work, bills that are overdue, relationship problems, and the stresses and strains that most parents face. Sometimes, we just don't know where to start, or how to keep it going once we do. BLOOM can help with that.
When Anxiety Is a Factor
Sometimes, parents do all they can to shore their children up and these children may still have issues with confidence and self-esteem. At times, anxiety is a factor and must be addressed to help the child cope across situations in their life. Read more on helping the anxious child HERE.
See more than a dozen ways to help your family CALM DOWN.
Now You Know
Now you know the real story behind self-esteem! Which of the six factors we mentioned do you need focus on most? You may find that you do several of those things well already and just need to focus on one or two. Strengthen one, then work on the next. And don't forget to have some fun!
Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, is the founder of Kidlutions and co-author of BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. She is the creator of numerous workbooks and resources to help from the preschool through the teen years. Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! She'd love to see your smiling face there!