How can I help boost my granddaughter's self-esteem?
I have a granddaughter, who has a twin brother and they are 51/2 years old. My granddaughter is a follower and people pleaser. Her girlfriends boss her around and tell her what to do. When my daughter goes to her classroom to help out once in a while, she asks her mother not to come to the classroom because it embarasses her. Her mother is very active in the school and only visits the classroom when it is her turn to be reading Mom. The twins go to a Montessor school and my granddaughter does very well. W hen it comes time for her to do something in front of the other kids she gets shy and embarassed. She actually is one of the smartest kids in the class, but she hides her light under a bushel. She is very active in piano, tennis and swimming and dance. She loves all these activities, but shys away from being the best, which she can be. Her Mother does not push her to be the best, but encourages her to do her best. Is there some magical way to help teach a child self esteem and not kiss every little girls butt just to have a friend. She is actually a very pretty little girl also, so looks have nothing to do with the bossy, mean kids. We would like to help her build self esteem so she does not have to go through life being shy, embarasses and worried what someone else THINKS. I would certainly appreciate any ideas or help you have. Thanks so much.
You have asked the million dollar question! What is self-esteem and how can we foster it in children? As you may have heard, self-esteem is the way that a person views and thinks about himself or herself. Do they think that they are worthy and valuable? Do they believe that they are the type of person who is capable of doing the things that they want to do? Do they like who they are?
It is not unusual for young children, and girls in particular, to have some doubts about their skills and abilities as they make the transition to kindergarten. It is a huge transition and it can be difficult for some children to cope with the challenge of demonstrating what they know in front of their classmates. Indeed, there is a great deal of research to show that many girls experience a drop in self-esteem when they hit adolescence, so this is an issue that spans across time, as well.
That said, it does sound like your granddaughter is a little on the shy side, and she would likely benefit from positive support from you and other family members. First, you should take a look at the following section of the website that has numerous articles on self-esteem and specific suggestions for promoting positive self-esteem. Second, you and other family members should look for opportunities to model positive self-esteem. Avoid harsh criticism of yourself or others. Model an attitude of positivity with a can-do approach to life. Promote the value of hard work over the actual outcome of any endeavor. Also, when your granddaughter takes "risks" in front of her class or at the family dinner table to share a story of her day, provide positive and accurate feedback (e.g., "I really liked the way you told that story"). Finally, loving discipline including limits and consequences is very helpful in promoting self-esteem. Children benefit from the physical and emotional protection of rules and limits. They develop a sense of security and safety knowing that their parents are loving and looking after them.
Thus, unfortunately, there is not a magic bullet, but there are a number of things parents and family members can do to help their children develop positive self-esteem.