Children are very sensitive when it comes to the way they perceive themselves. Self-esteem is your child’s passport to lifetime mental health and social happiness. Additionally, it is the foundation of a child’s well being and the key to success as an adult. At all ages, they way you feel about yourself affects the way you act. Think about a time when you really felt good about yourself. Everything seemed to work perfectly.
Here are some tips on how to raise your child’s self-esteem in order to grow up harmonious and mentally healthy.
- Self-image is how one perceives oneself. The child looks in the mirror and likes the person he sees. He looks inside himself and is comfortable with the person he sees. He must think of himself as a person who can make things happen. The main source of a child’s self-worth are the parents.
- Lack of a good self-imagery leads to behavioural problems. Most of the behavioural problems come from poor self-worth in parents as well as children. Children tend to imitate their parents’ behaviour. Therefore, if the child sees his parents optimistic and upbeat all the time, he will copy their behaviour. On the other hand, if the child perceives his parents as down and stressed all the time, then he will have the tendency to copy their behaviour.
- Improve your own self-confidence. Self esteem is acquired, not inherited. Certain parenting traits and certain character traits, such as anger and fearfulness, are learned in each generation. If you, as a parent, suffer from low self esteem, take the steps to heal yourself and break the family pattern. Make sure you “polish your mirror” so that your children will only see the best in you.
- Play with your child. By doing so, you will learn a lot about your child during play. Playtime gives your child the message that he is worth your time and that he is valuable to you. Children learn through play. Therefore, it improves a child’s behaviour by giving him feelings of importance and accomplishment. Let your child initiate the play. You will see how much good will do this to him.
- Address your child by name. From the very beginning, children learn to associate how you use their name with the message you have and the behaviour you expect. Parents often use a child’s nickname or first name only in casual dialogue. They beef up the message by using the full name to make a deeper impression. Always use his/her name regardless of the situation.
Every infant whose needs are met has self-esteem built in. Like an arborist caring for a tree, the parents’ job is to nurture what is there, do what they can to structure the child’s environment so that s/he grows strong and straight, and avoid whittling away at the tender branches.