A child’s self-esteem is based on his or her feeling of being capable and loved. So how can you, as a parent, help develop a positive, high self-esteem in your children?
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “A healthy self-esteem in a child is fostered by parents who show encouragement and truly enjoy their lives.”
Here are some tips to consider:
Words of Praise
Anderson says children need to hear words of praise from their parents. This means providing positive, accurate feedback by finding the silver lining in all situations rather than being negative.
Anderson suggests that you do this by simply recognizing your children for their efforts, not necessarily their successes.
If your child loses his baseball game you can say, “I’m sorry you lost your game, but I thought you did a really great job when you caught that fly ball that came to you.” By recognizing your child’s efforts, you are telling him that it’s not always about winning but rather the effort you put into a situation that should determine your level of pride.
This same thinking can be applied to school or home. By recognizing your children for the good they are doing rather than being hypercritical and pointing out their faults, you are encouraging them to not give up and to continue to work on improving themselves. You are conveying to them that they have some control in their destinies if they are willing to put forth the effort.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Anderson is quick to remind us that our children are constantly watching us.
“If you are overly critical of yourself, your children are certain to become overly critical of themselves. Likewise, if you have unrealistic expectations for yourself, your children are likely to develop this character trait as well.”
“Don’t be your own worst enemy. Instead, foster a loving environment in your home that is full of affection and isn’t overly competitive or critical. Encourage everyone to simply do their best and to be satisfied with that.”
Get Your Children Involved in Positive Activities
While being in competitions is fun, it is also important as a parent to get your children
involved in activities where it isn’t always about winning or losing. Being in a performance, helping someone less fortunate, or volunteering are all great ways to help boost children’s self-esteem. It teaches them that they are needed for a greater good, and that it isn’t always about them but rather the impact they can make when working with others.
“Helping your children have a positive self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give them,” says Anderson. “Everyone should be proud of who they are and the hard work they put into achieving their success.”
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek and on the West Allis/Wauwatosa border. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 St. 108th Street, West Allis. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.