How to build positive self-esteem?
What do I really mean by positive self-esteem?
Positive self-esteem actually means leading a healthy lifestyle, getting on well with others, having self-confidence, being happy in life and feeling physically well. But for some this sounds like a monumental task and is easier said than done. Returning to school will soon be upon us and the summer holidays will seem like a distant memory. So I thought I would outline 10 steps to help you build your child’s positive self-esteem:
- Use active listening. Active listening is fundamental to fostering positive self-esteem in children. So it’s imperative that you show your child that you are really listening to what they are telling you rather than just paying lip service to them. Look at them - rather than be distracted with your mobile phone!
- Good discipline is fundamental to good parenting otherwise your kid(s) will constantly be making you feel overwhelmed with anger and resentment. Good discipline, a routine and boundaries are crucial for happy kids.
- Don't use your parenting skills negatively, when you are tired or fed up, otherwise this will crush your child’s self-esteem. Too many "don't do this" and "don't do that" is devastating to a child. Rather, get your kids to do what you actually want them to do rather than what you don't want them to do.
- Remember most parents tend to stew about the things that got messed up rather than focus on the things that went right. This is negative energy and is futile and can lead to depression and anxiety!
- Kids need positive supportive comments from their parents on a regular continuous basis. Sometimes this is not so easy for some parents particularly if they have not experienced it themselves. So remember to focus on what you want more of, rather than dwell on what you don't want!
- Verbal and non-verbal expression of affection are essential to helping a child feel good about themselves. But don't reward good behaviour with food as this only develops an unhealthy relationship with food.
- Shared fun on a regular basis is crucial to good parent/child relationship; for example, playing snakes and ladders or going for a walk in the park and playing on the swings together. Whatever it is, it’s important that it is done on a regular basis and that it is something that is regarded as fun by both child and parent alike.
- Helping your child find something that they excel at (for example, dancing, gymnastics, tennis, golf etc.) and nurture it, is excellent for building your child's self-esteem and self-confidence.
- However, if you have been worrying about something related to your child’s behaviour and you have not sorted it out, may be now is the time to do so! Failing to do so could result in mental and emotional problems developing later on in life - for instance, depression and/or anxiety.
Remember, it is important to get real about what you expect from your children as well as yourself, as a parent, or you will run the risk of putting tremendous pressure on everyone and crushing your child’s self-esteem in the process.
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About Nadia Wyatt
Nadia Wyatt, owner of Goals Solutions, is a counsellor, hypnotherapist, life coach, EMDR therapist and EFT practitioner. She works with adults, couples, parents and children, including children with autism. She is based in Billericay Essex and has a clinic in Marbella Spain. She specialises in anxiety and depression.