10 Tips to Raise Your Kid's Self-Esteem

Learn what you can do to help your child develop a healthy view of herself.

Click on an item in the set below to see more info.

Focus On Behavior, Not The Child

What To Do: Tell your child that you will always love and accept him, even if you disagree with his behavior.

What Not To Do: Confuse your child's misbehavior with his person.

Words: Wisdom or Discouragement?

What To Do: Listen to your child. Support his concerns and ideas. Believe in your child, and he is more likely to believe in himself.

What Not To Do: Call your child names. Negative words can really stick with kids and bring down their self-esteem.

Compliments and Comments that Count

What To Do: The best compliments are honest, sincere, and specific. Rather than vaguely saying, "Great work!" say, "I like how hard you worked to finish your math project by the due date."

What Not To Do: Compliment with a critical edge. Underhanded comments of criticism can undo your good intentions. Does this conversation sound familiar? "You did a nice job cleaning your room, but it looks like you forgot to clean out your closet."

Your Developing Child: Explore or Mold?

What To Do: Provide your child experiences to explore, develop, and learn about his individuality and unique interests. Be your child's number one cheerleader.

What Not To Do: Shape your child into who you want him to become. He may resist and have a lower self-esteem.

Love: Unconditional or with Strings Attached?

What To Do: Tell and show your child that you love him. Spend time with him. Express that your love is unconditional.

What Not To Do: Wait until your child achieves a new success to show your love. Children need to know that you will always love them no matter what they do.

Unique and Uncomparable

What To Do: Recognize your child's unique strengths and weaknesses. Remember to love your child just the way he is.

What Not To Do: Compare your child to his peers or siblings. This can make him feel not good enough.

Growing Competence

What To Do: Empower your child to do things for himself that he can do safely. Encourage him to assist with chores, wash clothes, and help prepare dinner.

What Not To Do: Complete tasks your child can do on his own. Even if you can do it better and faster, it is more of a learning experience and confidence boost for your child to help out.

Balance Risks with Growing

What To Do: Allow your child to work through his own problems. Let him know you are available if he needs help. Confidence can develop out of independent problem-solving.

What Not To Do: Rescue your child from difficult situations. Working through the experience on his own will give him a chance to grow. Growing pains can't happen if you don't let them.

Be a Positive Role Model

What To Do: Model confidence, problem-solving skills, and positive self-esteem. Lead by example and your child will follow.

What Not To Do: Tell your child to act one way without living it yourself. Actions teach more than words.

Boundaries and Choices

If you tell your child a rule, make sure that you enforce it. When you give him a choice about certain matters, accept and respect his decisions. This will help foster mutual respect and understanding.

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