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How to build self-esteem in children

self-esteem in children

As parents, we tend to worry about our little ones, about their emotional and mental well-being, so it is natural that we look for ways to build self-esteem in our children.

Beyond the compliments and displays of affection, it is very important that you also help them to form a positive image of themselves, so that they have the courage to try new things, can overcome difficult times and defeats, and never give up.

If you want to discover some techniques on how to build self-esteem in children, keep reading!

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3 tips to build self-esteem in children

1. Acknowledge their effort

Usually, adults tend to flatter children with phrases like “You are very smart”, “You sing beautifully”, or “You look very handsome”.

However, according to developmental psychology professor and author Carol Dweck, complimenting your child’s effort has better results.

“You are working hard on your homework”, “I like to see you enjoy and making an effort in your singing classes”, or “Today you managed to dress without help” are examples of this type of positive reinforcement.

But not only that. Dweck also stresses the importance of setting clear goals and working towards achieving them, and not just rewarding hard work and effort.


2. Invite your child to solve problems

Sometimes we tend to label our children with phrases like “You never brush your teeth well” or “You always want to go to the bathroom as soon as we leave the house”, but if you are looking to boost their self-esteem, it is better to invite them to solve these problems and promote the feeling of autonomy and control over oneself.

For example, “It is difficult to stop and go to the bathroom when we leave the house or when there are no bathrooms nearby. What can we do to prevent this from happening to us?”. You can make suggestions, but give your little one the opportunity to think of a solution on their own or, if you give them advice, let them decide what to do themselves.

Also, let them know that the situation is not something bad or something that only happens to them. You can mention that it happens to many people or children and that you simply have to find a solution to avoid it.

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3. Give them the opportunity to calm down on their own

In the podcast Little kids, big questions from the Zero To Three’s series, Dr. Jeree Pawl mentions how, even though the instinct as a parent is to comfort their little ones, sometimes saying nothing is the best way to build self-esteem in children.

Dr. Pawl says this is especially common in young children. Giving them the opportunity to calm down on their own gives them a sense of autonomy and raises their self-esteem. In fact, Pawl gives the example of her granddaughter, who, by being alone in her room for a few minutes, manages to improve her mood.

These are some of the ways you can build your child’s self-esteem. Remember that the important thing is to promote your child’s confidence so that they can develop their autonomy.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these techniques? Do you have any questions that you would like to share with us? Leave a comment!

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