9 Tips to Nurture Self-Esteem and Good Behavior

These two things go hand in hand. Learn how you can nurture these qualities in your child and help her grow into a happy, confident adult.

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1. Adopt an Authoritative Parenting Style

An authoritative parenting style means responding to kids' needs while guiding them to be more helpful and cooperative. Express acceptance and affection with high, appropriate expectations. Respect your child by showing you truly believe in his potential.

2. Plan Age-Appropriate Activities

Plan developmentally appropriate activities that allow your child to problem-solve and make real contributions. Plan projects where you work together toward a goal. Focus on important topics, causes, and people that are worthy of your child's time. Helping others will help your child feel industrious and develop a healthy sense of self.

3. Show Authentic Appreciation

Express genuine interest in your child's activities and hobbies. Whether he is building a campsite, playing in sand, or reading a book, make him feel deserving of your attention. A study shows that the mothers who willingly interacted with their kids have children with higher self-esteem than mothers who unenthusiastically spent the same amount of time with their kids.

4. Foster Modesty

Teach humility in the way you communicate to your child. Credit his accomplishments without boasting. Encourage him to gracefully take pride in his successes.

5. Offer Sincere Support

Instead of saying "good job!" make your feedback specific, positive, and genuine. Empty praise and insincere flattery loses its value. Positively direct your recognition to his efforts and interests. Acclaim your son's dedication to his research paper by helping him search for resources, or proofread the final paper. Acknowledge his hard work practicing piano by listening and applauding.

6. Focus on Feelings

Sometimes it's hard for adults to recognize unpleasant feelings - anger, sadness, envy, fear - that their kids are feeling. It can be easier to look at the behaviors that results from these feelings - tantrums, whining, refusals - rather than looking at the cause or the emotion itself. Encourage kids to recognize what they are feeling, and why they are feeling that way.

7. Teach R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Teach respect for people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Ignorance plants the seeds of discrimination. Educate your child about other cultures. Model integrity by showing it through actions and words to people of all backgrounds and classes.

8. Mind Your Manners

Politeness is not instinctual, but rather something you need to teach. Model good manners by saying "please," "thank you," and "your welcome." Graciousness can be cultivated. Remind your child to thank the carpool mom. Ask him to wait to leave the dinner table. Appreciating others will boost your child's self-esteem as the positive regard is returned.

9. Equip Her With Social Skills for Success

Tattling on friends. Hitting when angry. Refusing to help. Children with poor social skills may feel incompetent, think they have little control, and develop negative self-esteem. Teach social skills to give your kid positive experiences with others. Gently instruct him how to ask a question, enter a group, take turns, and respond to anger.

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