Parents: How to Boost Your Child's Self
Esteem and Confidence
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Even more than ever I believe that the importance of teaching life
skills to young people should not be ignored. One of the most important
of these skills is self esteem. Everyone needs it, but as young people
are often unsure of the world they are discovering daily, it is the duty
of all parents to help support the promotion of healthy self image and
confidence in the youth of today.
Education has ignored the need for these life skills for a long time.
This does not mean that parents should forget that ultimately it is the
duty of the mother or father to provide a son or daughter with the best
weapon they could possible have to face all that life will throw at
them. Self esteem can be taught!
Research shows that high self esteem can help with positive focus and
happiness. If a child is happy and can concentrate positively he or she
is much more likely to be more successful at school and in
relationships. On the other hand low self esteem can lead to depression
and all the problems that may bring.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health suicide was the
third highest cause of death of young people aged 15 to 24. That
statistic comes from 2007 but the figure is growing. Depression is a big
cause of this and low self esteem is therefore something parents should
be aware of in their children. You as a parent can do so much to help
your child and I'd like to give you a number of tips for things that you
can do to help your child be more confident.
The role of the parent is very important in any child's life so you
should start early to foster healthy self image in your child.
Tips to help you boost your
child's self esteem and confidence
- Always try to make positive comments - as a parent you have
great influence over your child. A young child needs to hear the
approving words and this will make him or her feel appreciated and
wanted. Life is made so much harder if a child has been brought up
with negativity. Whenever your child does something well,
congratulate him/ her.
- Spend time together. You are busy, I know but to help your child
you need to spend quality time together. The fact of doing this not
only helps you to build a better relationship, it also shows that
they matter enough for you to give one of your most precious gifts -
- Listen rather than talk. Your young child needs to express him/
herself and you should listen and try to understand. By doing this
you are teaching that communication means being open to the ideas of
others. You are giving your child time to form his or her ideas and
discuss. You are showing that these ideas are important to you and
will not be ignored.
- Reward effort and don't talk about success or failure. The
important thing to teach your child is that effort and trying is so
important. Always notice and comment on effort in a positive way. An
important lesson is that hard work pays in the end. Success is the
end result of hard work and the inevitable mistakes that we must
learn from on the road to success.
- Focus on the positive. It is so important to show that a positive
attitude leads to happiness and success. Wherever positive draw your
child's attention to the good in any situation so that he/ she
realises there is always a choice how to see events that happen to
us. Being positive will create a healthy family atmosphere. This
kind of atmosphere creates security and if a child learns how to see
the positive even in the most difficult situations, this will make
the world a much better place to live. This will breed confidence.
- Discuss mistakes that your child makes. Help him/ her to see
them as ways to learn. Always discuss what lessons can be learnt
from the experience of making a mistake and ensure that you discuss
the difference between a mistake and failure. Let your child discuss
with you how to avoid the mistake again and how he can approach the
challenge in a different way next time. The most important thing to
teach is that no-one succeeds without making mistakes and that the
fear of making a mistake should never prevent us from trying. Young
people have a natural approach to life which involves jumping in and
learning by making mistakes so use this natural ability but discuss
the need to think about possible consequences of our actions.
- Focus on the behaviour not your child - when your child/
teenager misbehaves it is very easy to get angry and say things that
you later regret. To build self esteem your words should help your
child to understand what they have done wrong and why it is wrong.
Children often feel bad about themselves because their parents shout
at them and punish them for not doing what they say. If this
continues the child begins to believe what he is told - "you are bad
or you cannot be trusted". Focusing on the behaviour means that you
explain what the problem is and allow your child to see that bad
behaviour is a result of a bad decision and that the behaving badly
does not make you a bad person.
- No nagging - this serves no purpose but as parents we often do
this without thinking. Nagging is the opposite of listening and
discussing. By nagging you create bad feelings. Nagging also
develops into negative comments and we have already said that in
order to create self esteem in your child you should focus on the
- Take an interest - as one of the most important people in your
child's life the fact you are interested in what matters to your
child shows that you love and respect him or her. Showing an
interest also means taking the time to encourage and comment
positively on activities that interest your child. You are also
giving your child the opportunity to express him/ herself and
discuss the things that are important to him or her. You are also
teaching your child how to take an interest in others and this will
help them to make friends and genuinely make better relationships.
- Cuddle and encourage - showing affection is a healthy way to
teach your child that they are special in your eyes and that you
love them. It is very important for parents to show affection so
that the child may not only feel loved, but by experiencing this
they will be able to show affection to others too. Support from a
parent should give confidence and help your child understand that
others understand and want to help. A child who does not experience
encouragement and affection may grow up to be a lonely person who
struggles with relationships.
- Show your own mistakes and how you cope. Parents should teach by
example and so when a child sees that even his parents can make
mistakes he or she understands that mistakes are natural and not
something to be ashamed of. Equally, it is important for the parent
to show how to cope with mistakes in a constructive way. Something
only becomes a mistake when you accept it as such and then your
reaction to it is important. Mistakes can be seen as positive steps
towards doing something right. We move closer towards success when
we discover which ways do not work. Confidence grows when you are
not afraid of making mistakes. When your child learns that mistakes
can be corrected and can provide valuable lessons then this will
create a much more positive attitude and increased self esteem and
- Praise good behaviour - often parents focus on what is wrong and
this means they concentrate on bad behaviour. Try focusing on what
is good. Concentrate on good behaviour and reward that and you'll
see a massively positive effect on your child.
- Encourage communication and discussion. When you do this you are
showing that you value the viewpoint and ideas of your young child.
This will be a huge confidence boost for them and will encourage
them to be open and expressive later on in life. Modern society
encourages discussion, cooperation and self expression and this can
only be good for your child.
- Allow your child to learn consequences themselves. A parent
usually wants to help a child avoid mistakes but you have learnt
valuable lessons from making these mistakes. You cannot,
unfortunately, short cut this. Your child WILL make mistakes and
learn the hard way. To teach responsibility, which is a big factor
in self esteem, you should allow your child to learn that actions
have consequences and even though it is tempting you should not
protect your child from those consequences. If you over protect your
child they will not learn to be responsible for their choices and
they will not be prepared for the world which awaits them once they
leave home. Spoiling a child has no place in building self esteem,
in fact, it will create the opposite.
I hope the above tips are helpful and I hope you understand how
important it is to say and do the right things to create an environment
and a relationship that will turn a child into a young person and
eventually an adult who has the gift of self esteem and confidence. Good
Many of the tips above can be applied to adults as well and I would
recommend that if you would like to discover much more about how you can
develop your own self esteem so you become a better parent then do click
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