A Note to Parents:
As parents, perhaps the most important tool we can provide to our children is the gift of self-esteem. The ability to have the confidence and belief in oneself will carry itself throughout the many trials and tribulations that childhood and beyond throw at our youth in an ever more challenging world.
The following are some suggestions for helping to build self-esteem in our children:
Don't Do for Your Children What They Can do for Themselves: When we do things for children that they can safely do for themselves, we inherently state to them that they "can't do it.". Allow children to do what they can do safely (even if it may not be up to the standards you may have).
Use the Word "Do" More Than "Don't": When we direct our children not to do something, we assume they know what they should do or what we want them to do. Giving them specific direction on what to do builds confidence and enhances their abilities.
Build Upon Strengths: We all have strengths and attributes we are less proficient at. None of us can be adept at everything. Yet, teaching our children about their gifts and working towards their strengths can help build their belief in themselves.
Give Your Child a Role: As adults, we control, for the most part, what children wear, where they are going to go, and almost every facet of their lives. Giving them a role in these activities and chores helps them find themselves and build confidence.
Separate Behavior from Action: Our children will, and do, inevitably make mistakes and misbehave. When you discipline them, remember the goal is always to educate them on better behavior. Hence, being calm, directive, and addressing only the behavior specifically (and not the child's character) is essential for confidence. Think of how what is the life lesson that you hope that they can take from this particular situation?
Give Realistic Encouragement: We always want our children to trust us for honest feedback and criticism. Hence, when a parent over-praises a child, it begins to lose effectiveness, and they either become skeptical or easily frustrated when things don't minutely go their way.