A child’s self-esteem or self-confidence is something that goes with us throughout life. So it is important that we help our children from a young age to gain value. A specialist tells us how to boost positive self-esteem in children.
Self-esteem is the appreciation, value, and love that one has for oneself. It influences personality, way of being, behavior, character traits, and the way we relate to others.
Graduate in Psychology, Laura Morrison, a specialist in children and adolescents, says that “whether high or low, self-esteem has gradients ranging from positive and stable mood with feelings of pride and appreciation, to states of grumpiness, irritability, with repeated feelings of shame, contempt, and dissatisfaction. ”
In childhood, we begin to form the concept of ourselves and our relationship with others. Self-esteem will be the sum of small positive experiences, stimulating and recognition of significant people and references such as parents, teachers, or leaders.
It is the responsibility of adults to promote, stimulate, and develop feelings of positive self-esteem in children. Although there are no recipes and as it is said: no child brings an instruction manual under his arm when he is born, “what is useful for one is not indicated for another.” This means that we learn by trial and error, we observe, we doubt, we ask, we try and we try again.
10 Simple ways to boost a child’s self-esteem:
- Take care of the way we speak to them. It is important to know that children are very sensitive to words, but especially to the tone of voice and gestures of adults. They recognize their affective states in the expression of the face that also transmit confidence and security or fear and threat. Body language directly impacts the emotional and affective area and has an impact on self-esteem. We can see it when we address them with a firm voice and calling them by their full name instead of using the sweet form of their diminutive. They perceive it as anger and lack of love.
- Generate a space for dialogue. It is important to talk to the children about what did not go as expected, giving them a chance to reflect. “Before bed is a good time to chat, tell stories and take advantage to connect emotionally with children, away from the urgencies of the day,” says Morrison.
- Manage frustrations. Frustration is inevitable in life and parents have to teach the child how the world works where you have to learn to tolerate, resign and accept that not everything is as you want, that you do not always win. It is not healthy to avoid facing challenges or solving problems for them. “We must help them not see” catastrophes “where there can surely be possible solutions,” says the graduate, and suggests that, in competitions when only one wins, it is important to help them trust that, if they practice, if they train and try harder, you will have other opportunities.
- Avoid comparisons. We must develop an interest in improving ourselves and not in comparison with others. “Respecting and teaching to value personal and individual qualities stimulates self-love and self-confidence. Not all of us have to be recognized for the same things”, clarifies the specialist.
- Set achievable goals for them. To help them grow and trust that their achievements are measured by their abilities, we should not demand the impossible from them. “Beware of the over-demand of overvalued ideas,” warns Morrison. If the rod is too high, they will feel that the achievements are unsatisfactory. “Self-esteem is the distance between what I achieve and the ideal. The greater the distance from the ideal, the less self-esteem”, explains the graduate.
- Encourage them to go for more. “He doesn’t already have it” is a phrase that even adults encourage us to try something. We must encourage them to take risks, overcome shame, and face new challenges, strengthening self-esteem. Achieving difficult goals and being encouraged to face them build trust and nurture identity.
- Help them to be alone. Helping them develop the ability to entertain themselves, as tolerating boredom and uncertainty sparks natural creativity that enriches the inner world. Let’s try to find a way to do it without using tablets or cell phones.
- Connect with your wishes. The true desires are related to the chosen profession in adulthood. Let’s help children connect with what they really like; bearing in mind that wanting is not the same as wishing. Morrison says that the “I want” meets an immediate need, is the famous tantrums, usually linked to material things. Desire, on the other hand, has to do with being, with identity, with your own curiosity to know, with your own abilities and talent. And for that, adults must investigate their tastes, interests, curiosities.
- Promote physical activities. Propose creative activities related to the body in action: play the theatre, dance, draw, do exercises with the body in motion. The final product will have to do with identity. “Encourage the enrichment of the inner world that is our only companion for life,” says Morrison.
How to spot low self-esteem
- Listen to whether these expressions are repeated in the child’s vocabulary: “I cannot, I do not serve, I do not want to, I am afraid, I am bored.”
- See if reluctance, apathy, change of character, and daily moodiness appear.
- Be careful not to hide (sometimes children who feel undervalued tend to “disappear”).
- Control what you eat and your weight. Children who cannot express their anguish often channel it into food.
- Observe that they do not transform into people similar to parents (in the way of combing or dressing).
- If there are no discussions, conflicts, confrontation, or questioning it is a warning signal. The “I” disappears as if they had no thought of their own.
- The lawyer says that “confrontation with children must be endured because it implies that there is another, thinking subject for himself, even if he is wrong for the adult’s gaze.”
The adult must favor the child’s differentiation in search of his individuality in a stable, predictable, and favorable climate for dialogue and dissent. Morrison reflects: “To recognize the child is to consider him as a subject who has his own desires and needs, as a being different from his own expectations and desires. To recognize it is to love it.”