As a parent, the positive encouragement you give to your child will go a long way toward helping him to develop a high self-esteem. That, in turn, is important for helping him to become a successful and happy individual.
A child with a high self-esteem will act independently, assume responsibility, take pride in his accomplishments, tolerate frustration, attempt new tasks and challenges, handle positive and negative emotions and offer assistance to others. On the other hand, a child who has low self-esteem will avoid trying new things, feel unloved and unwanted, blame others for his shortcomings, feel emotionally indifferent, be unable to tolerate a normal level of frustration, put down his talents and abilities and be easily influenced.
To help develop your child’s self-esteem, look for ways to offer positive encouragement to him. Tell him he does a great job of keeping his toys picked up and his room neat. If he plays sports, praise him for how he works well with his team mates and the points that he scores. You can also praise your child for the kindness he shows to others and how he sticks with completing a task even when it may be difficult.
It’s also important that you train your child not to think of himself or his actions in a negative manner, as what we think of ourselves determines how we feel, which in turn determines how we behave. You can do this by encouraging your child to constantly tell himself he can do anything that is placed before him.
On those occasions when you may have to be critical of your child and his actions, remember to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. This will help to deflect the criticism away from your child as a person and instead keep it focused on your expectations rather than your child’s actions.
Susan Matherly is director at A Children’s Place, a service of Ephraim McDowell Health.