child with high self esteem raising hand in class

How to Nurture Your Child’s Self-Esteem

As a parent, you see exactly how fantastic your child is, but does your child see themselves in a similar light? Helping your child develop healthy self-esteem can set them up for success in many areas of life. Having healthy self-esteem can help children and teens:

  • Create meaningful friendships
  • Solve problems
  • Persevere through life’s challenges
  • Know their worth
  • Achieve their goals

Unfortunately, children often face many obstacles in developing healthy self-esteem. Images in media, bullying at school, and peer pressure on social media can all negatively impact the way a child sees himself or herself. That’s why it’s essential for parents to purposefully build-up each child’s self-esteem. Below are just a few ways parents can accomplish this.

Encourage Children to Try New Things

It can be scary to watch a child try something new; many parents wonder what will happen if the child doesn’t succeed. Don’t let your fear of failure stop your child from trying a new sport, instrument, or other activity. Instead, they believe that they will be ok whether they succeed or not.

If your child does well at the new activity, the boost in confidence and self-esteem may be apparent. After all, accomplishments can make anyone feel good about themselves. However, there are valuable lessons to be learned if your child doesn’t do particularly well in an activity as well. For example, you can talk about how great it is to put effort into something. Praising their efforts can help children feel empowered to try more new things in the future.

Set a Good Example

For better or worse, children model the behavior that they see from the adults in their lives. Whether it’s subtle or outright, children notice if their parents feel poorly about themselves. For example, if a parent focuses almost exclusively on what they don’t have, children may learn that their possessions define their personal worth.

Children can also learn how to love themselves by watching their parents. Parents can model healthy self-esteem by focusing on what they have, talking about their strengths, and dealing with shortcomings in healthy ways. It’s hard to fake great self-esteem, so parents may want to nurture their own self-esteem in earnest.

Teach Your Child to Help Others

While self-care and trying new things are both critical parts of creating healthy self-esteem, perhaps nothing boosts a person’s overall mood like serving others. If you give children opportunities to help others, you will often find that they not only take the chance, but they genuinely enjoy the experience. Over time, being in service to others can help children understand that they are important parts of the community and that people want them around. When they see how much value they create in the lives of others, it becomes easy for them to see their worth.

While volunteering is one way to teach children to help others, it’s not the only way to foster this feeling. You can also create opportunities to help around the house and in your neighborhood. Children can help you collect things to donate to charity, help a neighbor in crisis, or even just help with chores around the home.

If you struggle with your own self-esteem or worry about your child’s self-image, contact LifeStance Health today. Our counselors can work with you and your family to create habits that foster excellent mental health. Remember that you do not need to have a mental illness or be in the midst of a crisis to benefit from counseling services. We are here to help individuals and families at any stage of their mental health journies.

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