There’s a lot of emphasis today on giving children too much praise and not preparing them for failure and disappointment. However, it’s important to find the balance because as children today grow older, they enter into a world of social media, fierce competition for jobs and pressure to “succeed” – whatever that means. Therefore to survive in this world, your child needs to be confident and have self-esteem. But how do you do that and make them strong without doing more harm than good?
Take a step back
Rather than giving praise for everything your child does, it will help them to be more confident and competent in the world if you learn to step back and let your child take risks, make choices, solve problems on their own and stick to something once they have started.
Talk about yourself in a positive way.
Okay, don’t over-do it and always talk about how great you are and your achievements but teach your child that it’s okay to be positive about yourself. If you sit and talk about how you hate your looks or are worried about your weight, this becomes a normal thing for your child to worry about and they will start to think about how others view them. Research shows that children can feel negative about their bodies from a young age, and we all know that kids can be cruel. So whether it’s about hair colour or wearing glasses, it’s important to make your child feel positive about the way they look. This could mean taking a special shopping trip for a new pair of glasses or getting more info online on frames that your child will love and get excited about, or it might mean showing them positive role models or buying dolls with the same colour hair as them.
Over-praising your kids can cause harm.
To build self-esteem in your children, you need to make them feel loved and secure. The other thing that helps them with their self-esteem is competence. However, you can’t simply praise your children for developing competence. If you overpraise, then you’re actually lowering the bar for your children, patronizing them in a way and telling them that they no longer need to try hard and push themselves. They build confidence by trying and failing and trying again. If you constantly praise your child and especially when they actually could be doing better, then they could end up thinking they are perfect and then might try to be perfect all the time which is impossible to do and can end up confusing them and leaving them feeling rubbish about themselves. It is better, to be honest with your child and then they will also know that you really mean it when you do praise them.
Let your child take risks.
To build confidence in the world, your children have to take chances, make choices and take responsibility for them, don’t try to rescue your kids from failure all the time. They have to make mistakes to realize why they are wrong, they have to learn from the own mistakes and solve their own problems, and if you leave them to do this, you’ll find that they are really capable, whereas if you are always there to help them, they will let you help them and not learn anything.
Let your children make their own choices.
When children make their own age-appropriate choices, they feel more powerful. They can do this from an early age and will consider the consequences of their decisions. For example, you can let your children decide if they want to wear a coat or a hat in winter. They’ll soon learn when they need to and when they don’t, and they’ll know the consequences if they make the wrong choice. But it lets them have control over their own bodies and take responsibility for their actions.
Let your children help around the house.
To building self-esteem, your children need opportunities to demonstrate their competence, and they also need to feel that their contribution is valued. When your children are as young as toddlers, they can help around the house with cooking, setting the table and making beds and it can be a fun game too.
Make sure your child’s goals are within reach.
While you don’t want to lower your child’s standards, you should also be realistic about their ability. For example, if your child struggles with reading, help them by getting them some books that are below their reading level. They will find these easy and feel good about themselves, which will encourage them to keep going and move onto the next level.
Thanks for reading,