Childhood emotional development has a big impact on behavior, relationships, social skills, and learning capabilities in later adult life. The early childhood years are especially formative when it comes to self esteem. Having a healthy sense of self esteem can help a child perform better at school, enjoy fulfilling relationships, and just generally lead a more balanced, satisfying life.
On the other hand, children with low self esteem will be more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, have trouble at school, act out, and or experience turmoil in their relationships. Almost every parent is aware of the importance of healthy self esteem, but many are unaware of how big a role they themselves play in developing it in their child.
What is self esteem?
Self esteem can be described as how one judges their own sense of self worth and value. A child will begin to develop self worth often by comparing themselves to siblings and children in their social circle. Another big factor is how people in the child’s life, especially parents, peers, siblings, and others, react to the child’s accomplishments and even failures.
Positive or constructive responses will encourage the development of healthy self esteem, while negative reactions or no reactions at all will be detrimental to self worth. A child will also build self esteem by facing up to challenging situations and learning from them with the guidance and support of their parents. This is why the love, encouragement, and positive support from parents are so important for building self esteem.
How parents can help a child build self esteem.
Because family and parental figures play such an important role in the development of a child’s self worth, it’s a good idea to be aware of ways to foster self esteem and valuing oneself in a child from an early age. The following are a few ways to do just that.
-Spend quality time with a child. This can mean taking time to play with your child, run errands, help them with homework, or engage in an activity you know they enjoy. This shows your child that they are important to you and that you care about what’s going on in their life, no matter how busy yours is. This will boost self esteem and make the bond between the two of you stronger.
-Recognize their efforts and accomplishments. Many parents are good at praising their child when they’ve accomplished something, but praising their efforts is even more important and teaches them the value of hard work and to believe in their own abilities, even if they don’t always win or get what they want. This also teaches a child that failure is a part of life and it is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.
-Listen to your child. Really taking the time to listen to your child talk about their ideas, dreams, emotions, or questions is something that many parents tend to overlook. Listening will show a child that their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations have worth. It will also show that you love and care for them as a parent.
-Set limits with a child. Teaching your child that are definite rules and boundaries helps them feel safe and develop into responsible adults. Remember to set boundaries that are realistic, and always be sure to enforce them.