For Parents of Children With Low Self Esteem
For children the development of self-esteem begins at an early age, and the way they feel can vary from one stage of development to another, depending on the circumstances of their lives.
For children with seriously low self-esteem, getting the right help is very important. For parents of children with low self-esteem it is very important to consider how our own behavior can influence their self regard.
Children feel reassured by parents who are calm, warm and loving. It is important to give children reassurance that helps them open up and explain how they feel. It is important to be sensitive when children feel they are not succeeding. Telling them how proud you are of their efforts, how much you think they have achieved, is better than telling them they will surely get in the team next time, or pass the exam next time.
Children will be facing lots of different new experiences of course and should have realistic expectations of their achievement. No child is going to win everything or be top at everything. Most of us don't get to be top at anything. Most of us are just regular people. Doing something to the best of our ability is what most of us aim for. Success in life is not about being the best. Success is about all sorts of things. Children need to know they are succeeding, so need to know about all the ways in which they can succeed.
It is always a good idea to praise children when they show that they are:
- Being good friends to other children
- Learning to value themselves and others
- Helping younger children as mentors
- Putting all their effort into new challenges
- Learning how to treat other people well
- Learning how to deal with coming second or third, or twenty third
- Learning the difference between good behavior and bad behavior
- Being able to deal with criticism
If children have low self esteem it can be hard for them to explain how they feel. This can be very difficult if they already feel they are failing, and not as good or clever as their friends. Gentle support will help children feel comfortable enough to tell you how they feel.
Children suffering from low self esteem can suffer badly. It is important to recognize signs of low self esteem in children, and to learn how best to help boost their confidence and help them deal with being regular kids and not necessarily top achievers.
Advice and help should be available in most schools, or though your local medical centre. If professional counseling is considered necessary, do listen to your child if they say they don't get on with the counselor - like all of us it is possible to get on well with some people but not others. This is even more important for children who can find it hard to talk about how they feel to adults they don't know.
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