Confident children can grow up to become confident adults who are in better positions to reach their potential and find success. Parents can help their children build self-esteem that can benefit them throughout their lives.
Children with healthy self-esteem may be confident to try new things, feel good about themselves and feel better prepared for life’s challenges than youngsters with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can lead to feelings of insecurity and doubt and encourage children to focus on the times they’ve failed rather than succeeded. The resource Kids Health also notes that low self-esteem may lead to kids being self-critical.
While parents may think they can foster self-esteem in children by consistently praising them and telling them they are wonderful, experts disagree. According to Jim Taylor, author of the book, “Your Kids Are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You,” rather than layering on the praise, parents can help kids become more competent in their worlds, which will help children develop self-esteem in turn. This may mean taking a step back and letting kids take risks and work through their own problems. Consistently telling children they’re great at everything never raises the bar, potentially discouraging them from trying to achieve greater goals. When they venture into “the real world,” artificially praised kids may be in for a surprise.
Parents also can boost self-esteem by giving children choices, which may help them feel empowered. Parents can facilitate age-appropriate choices, such as letting kids pick their own between breakfast foods or their own clothes,that can gradually prepare kids for more difficult choices.
Parents may be tempted to do everything for their children, especially if it is faster or if parents want to ensure a task is done correctly. But letting kids do things themselves helps them to learn new skills. Even if kids don’t perform tasks perfectly, allowing them to do things themselves teaches them about approaching challenges, making mistakes and learning by practice.
One-on-one with kids is another great way for parents to build their children’s self-esteem. One-on-one time gives parents an opportunity to initiate discussions while giving kids chances to express themselves. One-on-one sessions provide opportunities to discuss problems or issues that may require some advice. Knowing they have a voice and that their views matter can be one of the easiest ways to help children develop confidence and self-esteem.