The fundamentals of building a child’s self esteem
Words have a powerful way of shaping a child’s self-esteem, therefore words used positively can be a miracle parenting tool.
As parents, our desire is to help our children grow and develop as complete individuals. While it is important to ensure that all the physical and cognitive needs of our children are well taken care of, we must pay attention to the less visible, but no less important aspect of their emotional development. Ensuring that we are physically available to help them grow emotionally is an important aspect of parenting.
It’s never too early to start building our children’s self-esteem. In fact, it should start from the moment our children are born! The early days of parenting can seem to just be filled with endless diaper changing, feeding, burping and rocking the baby to sleep. Mundane as these tasks may seem, they are actually building blocks in a baby’s emotional development. Babies begin building self-esteem as soon as they are born and having their basic needs met is the first step in this.
As babies grow to become toddlers, they begin to take steps towards independence and explore their world to learn more about it. Help them build confidence by making their world safe to explore but establish healthy boundaries. When correcting or disciplining your children, try to start and end it by identifying them in a positive way. Children who know their parents think they are great will stand much taller and stronger when hard times come.
Give your children an identity and they'll grab it. That identity, positive or negative, will become their stance, their way to approach life. A positive identity will become the fuel for their confidence while a negative identity will lead to a lack of confidence in them.
With confidence, your children will have a greater ability to make their own decisions. That leads to them setting healthy boundaries. Children with strong, positive identities decide for themselves what they will and won't do, what they like and don't like. That helps cultivate self-respect, which kills most forms of peer pressure and creates focus, clarity and direction.
The result: a confident child with a healthy self-esteem, a child of substance. A child of substance usually finds success — and even more importantly, significance.
Want children of substance? Start by building their self-esteem and giving them the identities they need. Then nourish those identities by maintaining a loving relationship with your children.
Here are some ideas on how to build your children’s self-esteem:
- Encourage your children to play with new things. Let them explore and experiment. Don’t be too quick to say, “Don’t touch that!”
- Give your children opportunities to do things on their own. Achieving success in a task is vital to building self-esteem.
- Take time to teach them new things – how to tie show laces, how to wash the plastic plates.
- Young children love to help their parents. Let them help you in the kitchen when you are cooking. Show them how to wipe the table. Let them use the vacuum cleaner.
- Laugh at the jokes your children tell you.
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For more tips on how to raise children of substance, join the upcoming “Parenting with Confidence” workshop for parents of 0-6 year olds. Register today at www.family.org.sg/pwc