5 Tips to Help Your Child Build Self-Esteem

If you are a parent, you want your child to know their worth. Perhaps you remember struggling with your own self-esteem as a kid, and you do not want your own child to go through the same thing. Now, as a parent, you’re wondering how to help them develop their confidence and understand their value.

Building up your child’s self-esteem is a lifelong journey. It’s most important that your child sees you as a source of unconditional love, even when they make mistakes. But what other specific techniques can you use to help your child develop a healthy sense of self-esteem? Here are a few tips that any parent can apply.

1. Teach Important Life Skills

Self-esteem doesn’t just come from positive self-talk or compliments from others. Your child will likely feel a higher sense of self-esteem when they are able to handle basic life skills on their own. It all starts with a good foundation. When your child is young, let them take part in chores like cooking, cleaning, and other household tasks. As they get older, teach them how to complete these tasks on their own. They’ll feel proud of themselves for getting the hang of “adult” skills!

2. Encourage Their Strengths

In addition to guiding your child through basic life skills, it’s crucial to encourage their individual strengths and hobbies. Maybe your child loves a particular sport or creative hobby. Whether they’re passionate about playing basketball, painting, writing stories, or learning all about animals and nature, show your support! Even if you weren’t interested in one of their hobbies, show your interest and ask questions. Let them know that you want them to chase their passions, even if they’re unconventional.

3. Age-Appropriate Risks

It may sound counterintuitive, but part of developing your child’s self-esteem means allowing them to make mistakes and fail. This is because healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean that someone believes they will succeed at everything or seek perfection. It means that they can process the emotions that come with failure and have faith that they can recover from mistakes and succeed in the long run. Letting your child take age-appropriate risks means that they will learn how to pick themselves up again after they mess up.

4. Praise the Behaviors you Want to See

Even in the midst of hard times, try to pick out something that is praiseworthy. Maybe they are struggling with homework, can you praise that they are not giving up or that they recognized that they needed a break and can come back to it later? Kids hear so many questions and commands throughout the day that finding little moments to praise them feels so good. Maybe they tend to run late in the mornings. Praise can be used as a motivator instead of commands. So, instead of saying “you are going to be late, if you don’t get your shoes on right now,” you can try “I love how you grabbed your socks before coming downstairs.” This lightens the mood and keeps them on task without issuing a command.

5. Be a Good Role Model

Finally, think about how you demonstrate your own sense of self-esteem to your child. Do you often make self-deprecating jokes? Your child may not be able to understand the difference between hearing you joke around and hearing you insult yourself. Do you give up after the first time you try something, or demonstrably feel down on yourself when you make a simple mistake? Think about whether or not your own self-esteem really shines through in your actions. Modeling healthy self-esteem for your kids can be a valuable lesson! Remember, you are your child’s most important role model.

Are you concerned that your child has low self-esteem? Working with a therapist can help them. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling a parenting therapy session.