With experts associating self-esteem with success and well-being, it is important for parents to understand how to develop or boost their child’s self-esteem. Here are some simple tips and activities.
By Arun Sharma
Self-esteem can be defined as what an individual thinks about herself, or the amount of respect an individual has for herself.
A child with low self-esteem shows lack of confidence, feels incapable of completing tasks, is reluctant to move out of his comfort zone and explore unfamiliar territories, and nurtures negative emotions such as frustration, anger and shame.
On the other hand, a child with excessive self-esteem is prone to putting his own needs first, indulge in risky behaviours, and have problems in relationships.
But, experts believe that a healthy level of self-esteem, or self-esteem in moderation, in children is associated with better academic performance, increased confidence in their potential, and better ability to cope with frustrations.
“A child with self-esteem is more willing to take a risk, try new things and stretch outside their comfort zone. As they are not as daunted by the fear of failure, they might set higher goals for themselves too. They do not feel threatened by competition, as they will believe that while they are good, so are others. They are open to mingling with everyone and do not hang out with just the 'popular' kids. Also, since their sense of identity is not tied to external things, they will not be so hung up on wearing or having only 'branded' stuff (In the hope that the brand will elevate their sense of esteem of being 'in').” —*Aparna Samuel Balasundaram
While the development of self-esteem is an unending process, and levels of self-esteem keep fluctuating, here are some age-appropriate ways of boosting your child’s self-esteem.
Newborns and infants are too young to develop the sense of self-esteem, as they are yet to develop the sense of self. However, there are quite a few things you can do to lay the foundation for a healthy self-esteem in your baby. Some of the things you should do are:
As your child turns into a toddler, he starts showing increasing signs of independence and eagerness to explore his surroundings. Toddlerhood is an important stage where, as a parent, you can develop your child’s self-esteem. Some of the things you can do are:
By the time your child is a preschooler, she would have a highly-developed sense of imagination, very low level of, or almost no, separation anxiety, would enjoy playing group games, can wait for her turn, and display a sense of humour. She would also compare herself with others around her. To boost your preschooler’s self-esteem, you should:
As your child starts attending school, his intellectual abilities are challenged. Also, he begins comparing himself with his peers. This is when his self-esteem levels can fluctuate. Here’s what you can do to take care of his self-esteem.
While you involve yourself with the serious business of boosting your child’s self-esteem, here are some fun activities that you can make your child do to give his self-esteem a fillip.
Parents exert the greatest influence on young children. So, make sure that you influence your child in a positive way by helping him develop positive qualities.
*Aparna Samuel Balasundaram – is an award winning Psychotherapist, Parent and Child Expert, with 10 years of experience in the USA. She is the Founder of Life Skills Experts that enables parents and teachers to raise happy, confident and successful children. www.LifeSkillsExperts.com. She is also the Founder of ‘A Flourishing Me’, that offers contemporary Counselling and Parent and Life Coaching [www.AFlourishing.me]
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