Growth and Development: Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem
What is an Actionset?
Self-esteem is a person's core belief about himself or herself. A person's self-esteem is reflected in his or her actions, both in how as well as what he or she does. Although self-esteem varies from time to time, the pattern usually leans toward a healthy or unhealthy view of self. With healthy self-esteem, a person is more likely to succeed in life.
Although building self-esteem is a lifelong process, the foundation of self-esteem is established in childhood. That foundation can do much to help a child deal with difficult life issues as they are encountered.
Parents have the greatest influence on a child's belief about himself or herself. Letting your child know that he or she belongs, is doing well, and is contributing can help him or her develop healthy self-esteem.
Keep these things in mind as you raise your child.
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You can promote your child's development of healthy self-esteem by starting a cycle of belonging, learning, and contributing. A sense of belonging helps a child to participate in learning new things; learning makes a child feel confident in making contributions; making contributions helps secure a feeling of belonging. This cycle helps establish and strengthen a child's self-esteem.
Developing healthy self-esteem is a process that continues throughout life and helps a person act responsibly, cooperate well with others, and have the confidence to try new things.
Test Your Knowledge
Self-esteem involves how a person sees himself or herself.
Which of the following are involved in helping your child develop healthy self-esteem? (There may be more than one correct answer.)
Helping your child feel that he or she belongs within the family
Helping your child feel that he or she can learn and accomplish things
Helping your child feel that he or she can contribute in a worthwhile way
Self-esteem affects all aspects—personal, family, and social—of a person's life. Adults who have low self-esteem feel that they do not belong, that they cannot learn and accomplish things, and that they do not have anything to contribute. Low self-esteem limits a person's ability to do well in the world.
On the other hand, adults who have healthy self-esteem are well equipped to succeed in life. They have the confidence to try new things and learn new skills. They are responsible adults, are able to cooperate well with others, and are happy.
Test Your Knowledge
People who have low self-esteem do fine in life.
Adults who have healthy self-esteem have which of the following characteristics? (There may be more than one correct answer.)
They have confidence.
They are responsible.
They are cooperative.
Developing a sense of belonging, learning, and contributing can help your child develop healthy self-esteem. The following are ways you can help promote this development in your child. Use the brief belonging, learning, and contributing checklist as a daily reminder to let your child know he or she belongs, is learning, and is contributing.
Through contact with others, we know that we are loved and respected and that we belong. Use the following suggestions to help your child feel he or she belongs within your family.
Although learning really takes place all the time, plan to create a learning opportunity for your child at least once a week.
Contributing enhances our feelings of belonging, providing the basis for continued learning and strengthening of self-esteem. Every day, use the following suggestions to help your child feel that he or she is contributing.
You may want to keep a journal when you are starting to use this method. Each day for at least 3 weeks, write in your journal specifically how you helped your child develop a sense of belonging, learning, and contributing. Keeping a journal for an extended period of time will help encourage positive behavior. After 3 weeks, review your notes to see your child's progress and to identify new ways to help your child.
Test Your Knowledge
You can help your child develop a sense of belonging by doing which of the following? (There may be more than one correct answer.)
Showing your love
Praising good behavior
Encouraging participation in youth groups
Although it is best to start when your child is a baby, it is never too late to help a person improve his or her self-esteem.
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