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4 min read

How to Improve My Child's Self Esteem: Effective Tips and Strategies

a child with brimming self-esteem

Positive self-esteem can be an essential factor in child development. It helps to contribute to positive social behavior, is protective against stress and other challenges, and can be an indicator of good mental health. However, there are a number of negative situations that can chip away at your child's self-esteem and lead to low self-confidence. In this article we'll share some do's and don'ts for building a healthy self-esteem in children.

Why is Self Esteem Important?

Self-esteem is how we view ourselves, and how we see ourselves directly impacts how we interact with the world. Kids learn to either feel proud of their accomplishments, or they can develop low self-esteem from environmental factors. The messages kids hear daily have an enormous impact on future success, happiness, and relationships.

Tips for Building Self Esteem in Your Child: Do's and Don'ts

When it comes to building confidence and boosting self-esteem, there are a number of ways as a parent you can help your child walk in the world with their head held high. The first and most important messages about self-esteem come from inside the home, from their own parents and other family members.

Here are the do's:

Give Your Child Choices and Responsibilities

One mistake that many parents make is undermining their child's confidence by not allowing them to make age appropriate choices and giving them responsibilities that make them feel competent. We want to give our children everything, but ironically doing everything for them can harm a kids self-esteem.

Let Your Child Take Healthy Risks

We want our children to be safe, but letting a child learn through healthy risk-taking builds confidence and can lead to good self-esteem. Let them climb that tree and do things that they find challenging. By accomplishing new skills, kids grow into high self-esteem.

Let Them Help Around the House

Is there a certain chore that your child has been showing interest in? Let them give it a try! It can help them build confidence to know that they are contributing to the family. If they have younger siblings, they may help them get dressed in the morning, help you entertain them while you cook dinner, or plan an activity for them.

Praise Perseverance

Observe your child, and notice when they are striving toward achieving a goal. For example, if your child's school is having a talent competition and they've been working hard to perform a song, let them know that you've seen how much time and effort they're putting into it and that you are proud of them.

Help Kids Find Their Passion

It may have been your lifelong dream to have one of your children be a dancer, but your daughter is more interested in sports. Remember that this is their life, and by choosing their own path they will build confidence in their own abilities. Help them to find the place they fit best by letting them try the activities that interest them.

Let Kids Make Their Own Choices

Sometimes it can be difficult to step away when your child wants different things from you. However, learn to trust their ability to make their own choices (when its safe) and watch their self-confidence soar.

Encourage Them to Try New Things

Kids are always searching for their identity, and they may go through a number of stages that can feel frustrating to parents. But let them explore the their interests and style. Healthy self-esteem is born from allowing them to have a strong inner voice.

Here are the don'ts:

Try Not to Get Worked Up About Mistakes

It can be frustrating when you see your child make a mistake or a wrong choice. However, try not to let your feelings overwhelm you. If your child sees that you are angry every time they make a mistake, they may become afraid to share their experiences with you, and their self-esteem can take a hit.

Don't Protect Them From Failure: Use Failure As an Opportunity to Build Self-Esteem

We all fail sometimes. If you don't allow your child to experience failure, this can hamper their ability to manage their feelings and deal with the reality of failure. Ironically, failing can lead to good self-esteem if you teach them how to handle it gracefully.

Avoid Over-praising Your Kids, it Can Do More Harm Than Good

Kids are both smarter and more intuitive than many people think. When you praise your child for the positive things they do, this is a good thing. However, if you praise your child for every little thing, it will begin to ring hollow for them. They will understand that your praise is not genuine and rather than building confidence and high self-esteem, it can have the opposite effect.

Don't Use Harsh Criticism and Sarcasm

On the other hand, if a child is accustomed to hearing criticism and sarcasm because their good grades aren't "good enough" or that they can't perform on the soccer field, or they spend time with activities that their parents don't approve of, it's likely that they will not develop a good sense of self-worth or self-image. Praise honestly where you can, and communicate kindly and clearly if they're on the wrong path.

Finding Help and Support for Your Child

In a perfect world, as parents, we would know just how to make a child feel loved all the time while setting healthy boundaries. But nobody is perfect, and often we fail to create opportunities to build our child up because we never had a good example ourselves. Sometimes the best way to help your child's self esteem as well as your own self-esteem is to get professional help.

Support for Self-Esteem in Austin, TX

Building confidence and self-esteem can be a driving factor in long-term success in school, as well as life down the road. If your child shows signs of low self-confidence and you are unsure of how to encourage growth and pride in their work, therapy can help.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, our Austin-based team of doctoral-level child psychotherapists offers evidence-based therapeutic approaches and techniques to build self-esteem in children, as well as educate parents in healthy communication.

Give us a call today and our patient coordinator will help you find the right Austin therapist to offer tools to accept mistakes, learn new things, and move with confidence through the world. 

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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