Growing a Child with Confidence and Character: Building Self-Esteem in Kids
All parents want to raise children who have high self-esteem. As an adult, you probably know someone strong, confident, and self-assured. Perhaps that’s you. Having a child who can roll with life’s punches is incredibly important. But why do some kids seem more comfortable with themselves than others, and what can parents and caregivers do to foster resilience and confidence? In this blog, you will learn how self-esteem is shaped and the traits a child should build within themselves for healthy self-esteem.
How is Self Esteem Shaped?
Self-esteem is the perception one has about themselves. According to the American Psychological Association, having high self-esteem is a critical component of positive mental health and well-being. A person’s self-esteem will impact their life decisions, friendships, and other social relationships, and how they respond to life when it gives them lemons. Therefore, it behooves parents and caregivers to do what they can to help children grow and develop their confidence.
Self-esteem is shaped by how a child thinks of themselves and how the people who matter to them perceive and react to them. A child with low self-esteem can develop confidence and comfort with their place in the world. Here are some ways to build confidence and self-esteem in your child.
- Ensure they feel secure. Feelings of security are essential for a child to develop self-confidence. Children who feel secure about their current situation and future are more likely to have high self-confidence than those who do not feel safe. They should also feel secure in sharing their feelings and opinions with others – especially their parents/caregivers.
- Ensure they feel like they belong. No one likes to feel alone. A sense of belonging is important for developing a child’s personality and confidence about their place in the world. A sense of belonging can include at home, school, sports, and church. Rejection can and will happen in life, but when a child has had a sense of belonging in the past, they’re likely to bounce back more quickly.
- Ensure they know how trust feels. Trust is something that is earned and is essential for a developing child. If a child cannot trust their parents, coaches, caregivers, and teachers, how can they trust the rest of the world? Demonstrate trusting relationships by keeping promises and being reliable. Kids will do as you do. If you show them how to be trustworthy, they will emulate this behavior too.
- Ensure they have a sense of responsibility. A great way to build confidence is by being responsible. There are many ways a child can develop a sense of responsibility. A few examples include caring for the family pet, completing homework, and doing chores.
- Ensure they have a sense of competence and pride. Everyone loves getting complimented, but a sense of competence and pride is best when it comes from inside oneself. Overcoming challenges is a powerful teacher. Help kids grow from life’s difficulties by supporting them and allowing them to solve problems independently. One perfect example is when they’re struggling to complete a math problem. Let them get on Khan Academy to teach themselves how to solve the problem.
- Teach children how to make intelligent decisions. An important lesson for kids is that each choice they make has consequences. These can be good (study every day and you can get As) or bad (don’t walk the dog and they poop on the floor, which has to be cleaned up by the kid). Let life’s lessons naturally teach your child how to make intelligent choices.
- Teach children to have self-control. Having control is an important life lesson. Not just for one’s mental health but also for developing healthy social relationships. For example, if a child is used to getting their way and when challenged, they have a meltdown, they may be ostracized by their peers. That is a life lesson. But if they learn to control their feelings, they will appear confident in facing adversity, which is a powerful skill to master.
- Give your child positive feedback and support. We all need encouragement and positive feedback to grow. If all we ever hear is what we are doing wrong, it can be challenging to feel very good about ourselves. Developing children need positive feedback and support from their parents, caregivers, teachers, and coaches. This doesn’t mean that life should be sugar-coated, but you should celebrate their wins and help support their losses. Teach your child how to overcome failures and accept responsibility for their mistakes. Passing blame is easy, but taking responsibility for one’s actions builds character. Help them learn that by being human, they’re going to mess up and that it is okay. What you want, though, is for them to learn and grow from their mistakes. Your support and love will help make this possible.
Through your actions today, you can create an adult who is confident in their place in the world. If you have questions about how to overcome issues and build self-esteem in your child, contact us. We can provide personal support to help you and your child succeed.