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Championing Your Child's Self Esteem

By: Linda Sorkin, LMFT and Teen Life Coach with Soul Empowered Coaching
Studies in self-esteem show that having a high esteem is the number one ingredient for having a happy, fulfilled, productive and successful life. When you feel good about yourself it is easier to navigate through challenging moments in life. However, what makes one child have high self-esteem and another doubt themselves and feel they will never amount to anything?

Dr. Joe Rubino, self-esteem coach, states that "In the life of every child, usually sometime between birth and age 6, something happens to have the child doubt him or herself. Someone says or does something that has the child believe that he or she is flawed, unlovable, not worthy, imperfect." As a result, the child begins to form their first realization that they are not perfect.

Perhaps, they experience a failure to measure up to parental and/or society's standards in some way. Then the creation of self doubt is formed and the child's self-esteem is negatively effected. A child's negative self-concept can easily be formed by a mean comment, unkind words or an insult from another child. It might also develop because of a spanking, a direct put down or even an argument with an authority figure. Another way a child develop's self doubt is when they begin to misinterpret what is said to them as being an insult or put down. Children with low self-esteem take someone else's words or actions to mean they are flawed, unloveable or inadequate. Consequently, children can adopt a victim mentality by blaming others for making them feel bad.

This unproductive mindset can unfortunately follow them into adulthood. Now, not to put any pressure on parents, but how do you ensure your child develops the healthy esteem needed to reap overall success in life? The following tips will help to conquer your child's self doubt and get them moving in the right direction to a happy and fulfilling life.

8 parenting tips to champion your child's self-esteem:

  • Listen to your child. Validate who they are by listening to their opinions and beliefs. Get them to talk about their interests and what they believe in. Help them to find an important purpose and special talents or gifts in life.
  • Reflect back to them their true nature. Your child's true essence is to be loving, kind and compassionate. See and verbalize their uniques qualities and traits. Point out something positive about them and their abilities everyday.
  • Speak respectfully to your children. If you become angry with them, let them know it is their behavior your upset with not who they inherently are as a person.
  • Assist them with misinterpretations. Help them to not take other peoples words and actions to mean they are unworthy or defective. Misinterpretations can cause unwarranted self doubt. How children and adults for that manner, choose to view what others say and do usually have nothing to do with them personally. Faulty reasoning and misinterpretations are number one set ups for low self-esteem.
  • Teach them to develop empathy for others. There is less need to react when a child learns to understand why people do what they do. Imagining someone else's perspective and world is an important skill to reinforce.
  • Annihilate perfectionism! Help your child to understand no one is perfect. Making mistakes is part of being human. Mistakes provide amazing learning opportunities and moments for growth.
  • Support them to take risks which will build self confidence and esteem. Help them to face their fears and normalize why fears keep us small and in our comfort zone. Stand behind them and believe in who they are and what they have to offer.
  • Love them up! Always be a source of unconditional love. Let your home be a safe haven and place to feel loved, accepted and supported.