Maintaining healthy self-esteem is difficult for anyone, but especially for parents, who spend most of their time tending to the safety and happiness of their family. However, experts say that having a healthy self-esteem affects your child’s self-esteem. By modeling good self-esteem, you teach your child to feel good about himself.
And, research has shown that children who feel good about themselves, are more successful in school. Want to know how you can help raise your child’s self-esteem? Here are seven tips from psychotherapist and author Mary Jo Rapini:
- Remember that we all make mistakes. It is important to remember that no one is perfect. Demanding perfection from your children causes them to be anxious and depressed. They feel like they will never be good enough. Start a new rule in your home: it is more important to try to be good enough, than to try and then feel badly about not being perfect.
- Pay attention to what you say. Pay attention to what you say to yourself around your children. The negative things you say about yourself will be remembered by your children, and your children may in turn repeat that about themselves. Always talk to yourself nicely when your children are around. (Talk nicely to yourself when they aren’t around, too.)
- Teach respect. Treat your children and your spouse with respect. That doesn’t mean you give in to them, it means you don’t interrupt when they are talking and you listen attentively. Address them lovingly. No matter how old your child is, he needs to be talked to respectfully.
- Hug your child. Affection tells your child you love him, and he is worthy of love. Remember, teens need as much if not more hugs than small children do.
- Keep your promises. Parents who are never on time or change plans constantly raise children who don’t trust. If you cannot trust others, you cannot feel good about yourself. If you grew up in a home where no one followed through, change that for your child.
- Give your child responsibility. Parents must give chores and follow through with consequences if they aren’t done. This teaches your child he is part of the family and his work is necessary to help the family. Parents who don’t give their children chores raise kids who think they really don’t matter to the family. This leads to disengagement of the family.
- Show interest in your child’s interests. Any interest your child expresses is an opportunity to raise her self-esteem. Talk to her in regards to her interest. Listen to her. Buy her books, take her to appropriate museums, or join a group with other people who share that interest. When you show interest in your child’s interest, you make your child feel valued and important. This encourages her to be more curious. Children with healthy self-esteem are more curious because they aren’t afraid to take risks. They believe they will not fail and if they do they will be okay.
Raising healthy children is so important. Being a healthy mom and dad predicts your child’s ability to feel good about herself. If you came from a family that wasn’t accepting or affectionate, it can be difficult to teach your child love and acceptance. Never give up. Take one small step a day to insure your child’s success.