Self-esteem is important for child and adolescent development. It encompasses children’s feelings about their competence and worth, their ability to confront and master challenges and to learn from their failures as well as their successes. In daily life, parents can improve children’s self-esteem by learning the following skills.
- Appreciate your child
Recognise your child’s strengths and appreciate your child. Parents' affirmation and encouragement can make children learn to appreciate themselves.
- Respect your child
Teenagers have their own views and preferences. Parents should try to accept their opinions and choices. When children have opportunities to learn how to make decision, they begin to believe that they have responsibility and control over their lives.
- Encourage your child to solve problem independently
One of the best ways to help children develop self-esteem is to provide them with opportunities for assuming responsibilities, making decisions and solving problems in their everyday lives such as letting them manage their pocket money.
- Avoid comparison and criticisms
Avoid comparing your child with others and making negative comments such as ‘Everyone else can do it. Why can’t you?’ or ‘You are stupid and lazy!’ These negative comments may affect the self-confidence of your child.
- Teach your child to learn from mistakes
All children make mistakes. Help your child understand that we can learn from mistakes as they are a valuable and integral part of the learning process. Parents’ understanding and support allows the children to believe that they can do it, thereby building self-confidence.
- Encourage your child to build islands of competence
Encourage your child to build islands of competence by participating in different extra-curricular activities. Children need to become good at something and to develop their potentials. Engage children in activities they enjoy or are good at such as singing, painting, dancing, sports or doing volunteer works.
Children with high self-esteem will affirm their values and strengths. They are not afraid of others knowing their weaknesses. They can cope with problems and deal with challenges confidently. As a parent, your appreciation, respect, trust, support and encouragement will help your children recognise their own strengths and enhance their self-esteem.