Hump Day Hack – Four Easy Ways to Build Self Esteem in Your Kids
As we settle into our couches and enjoy watching our children playing with all the toys and presents they just unwrapped, it’s a great time to consider another gift we can give them – or at least help them build: self-esteem.
Four Easy Ways to Help Build Self Esteem in Your Kids
Your child believes everything you say. And acts on it.
“Amazing how a negative message — even if it’s unintentional — can inflict a sharp stab to the soul and break down a child’s spirit.” — Joanne Stern
Children rely on us to interpret the world: “That’s HOT, Don’t touch!… Now we wash our hands…We can walk now that the light is green…..We always… We never…. This is how we do it…..The sky is blue….”
What happens when they hear: “You’d lose your head if it wasn’t glued on…..That was a dumb thing to do….You drive me crazy ….Why can’t you….You never….You always…..You make me want to scream!”?
What happens when they overhear: “You won’t believe the day I’ve had with that kid….He’s never been much of a student….He and his sister will just never get along….He’s not good at that….He’s so irresponsible….He never does his chores without me hounding him…..He’s always like that….He can’t control himself….He’s just like his father….He has such a temper….”
They believe it.
Even if they don’t show it, even if they act like they don’t care, on some level our kids believe everything we say. Unfortunately, you can’t “un-say” something. But with a little forethought, you can use this tendency to help your child aspire to be her best self, and to feel better about who they are.
1. Help your child see herself. Research shows that kids’ beliefs determine their behavior. When you observe something positive about your child, tell her what you see: “You’re working hard on that…. Hey, I saw you got frustrated but then you came back and tried again….Wow, you read that whole book yourself!….I’ve noticed that you’re remembering to brush your teeth now without being reminded most of the time.” Comment especially on any progress in the “right direction.” We all need help to keep plugging away towards a new goal.
2. Empower by problem-solving instead of labeling. If you’re offering your child guidance about something, stick to what’s happening right now and empower your child to solve it. “You always forget to …” programs him to keep forgetting. “How do you think you can help yourself remember tomorrow?” helps him become the problem solver instead of the problem. Just focus on how he can remember this time, and he’ll start to see that he’s a kid who remembers, more and more often.
There are two more tips as well – you can find them in the original article