10 Self-Esteem Boosters for Your Child (page 2)

10 Self-Esteem Boosters for Your Child

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Updated on Jul 26, 2010

5.) Set clear limits.

Kids thrive in an environment where their grown-ups have realistic expectations, clear cut rules, and logical consequences. It is actually quite comforting for children to know that they don’t have to tackle the world all by themselves, and that they have a responsible, in-charge adult by their side. Don’t ask your kids to be mind readers, communicate directly to let them know what the rules are, why they’re in place, and what consequences they’ll face if the rules are broken.

6.) Help your kids express their thoughts and emotions.

When we notice a child is quiet or in a bad mood and ask them what’s wrong, the answer we frequently hear is “nothing.” For kids, understanding their emotions is actually much harder than many people recognize. Children benefit from some on-the-job “training” in order to learn how to accurately identify sadness, anger, or frustration. You can even use an emotion chart (chart with faces depicting different emotions available for free on the web) and have kids point to the face that looks like how they feel. Help kids experience their emotions in a healthy way without censoring or judging their reaction or problems.

For instance, if a toddler cries when another child takes a toy away from them it can be tempting to minimize your child’s pain, but this is an opportunity to let your child identify the emotion and learn to cope with it. Instead, you could say, “I know that you are frustrated and disappointed that Billy took your toy from you. That feels bad! Let’s take a moment to feel bad and then let’s see if we can talk to Billy about a sharing arrangement for the toy.”

7.) Be present with your children.

Once your child knows how to express her feelings, make sure you take time to listen! Since many things compete for our attention in today’s hectic world, we sometimes have trouble focusing. Try to set aside a certain amount of time, even if it is only five or ten minutes after school, to give your child your full, undivided attention. Turn off your cell phone and the TV and listen actively to your child. Ask questions and remember key points. Try to understand the point of your child’s story and how she feels when relaying the information. Remember that you do not have to fix everything; the child may just need to air his or her feelings. And being heard is a big part of developing self-esteem.

8.) Help your child learn from mistakes.

Make sure your child knows that making mistakes is part of life.  Encourage your kids to take appropriate risks even if it means that they make mistakes. When parents encourage risk taking and accept failure, they are teaching kids how to be kind and patient with themselves, which is essential to their self-esteem. It can be very encouraging for kids to hear stories about mistakes their own parents made (and overcame!)

9.) Be a positive role model by nurturing your own self-esteem.

Don't be too hard on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations. Remember, you are your child’s role model! When appropriate, talk to your kids about your own life and feelings. When your child hears stories about you taking risks, surviving failure, or doing something that made you proud of yourself, they’re likely to try to do the same in their own lives.

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