Building your child's self esteem
It's one of those things that all parents want to provide for their children and one of those things that many feel they do not know how to do: raise a self-confident child.
Also, understand that your child and your child's behavior are two separate things. This can be very hard to remember, particularly when your child is acting out in ways that make you crazy or that are unsafe. However, when you discipline your child for the behavior rather than the person, you can positively influence and foster self esteem. Why? If your child feels that you are mad, because of who he or she is as a person rather than for the behavior, this can negatively affect your child's self-esteem. Using "I" statements helps with this. Say something like, "I don't like it when you leave your toys scattered all over the floor," which also addresses the behavior, rather than, "You are a slob," which attacks their character.
Let your child make some decisions. Children are in a situation where everyone else is constantly telling them what to do, when to do it, where to go, and more. When children are allowed to make some choices, even if it's something small, they learn to be self-reliant. You don't want your children growing up feeling dependent on others for direction. Simple choices such as what to wear (you can offer two or three choices) or choosing a special lunch item will foster your child's being able to think independently.
Encourage your children to try new things. While there's nothing wrong with encouraging your child's talents--this will help build self-confidence as well--it's also important that your children learn to experiment. Trying new things helps everyone overcome fears of the unknown and helps us learn to deal with success and failure.
If a child never learns to try new things, this can create problems later in life.
After all, most people do not live in world where everything is the same day after day. Life is constantly changing, whether it's a move to a new city or starting a new career. If children are experienced at trying new things, even if small, life's bigger transitions will be much easier--such as leaving for college and starting a career.
These are, of course, only a few things you can do to help develop your child's self-confidence. The important thing to remember is that it is an ongoing process. The little things do add up, even if they seem unimportant. This can be helpful to keep in mind, particularly when something as important as developing your child's self esteem feels like a monumental task. It doesn't have to be! Taking time to recognize your child for the wonderful person he or she is, combined with a few techniques and consistency will go a long way toward raising a healthy, confident adult.
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