5 Ways to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem
All a parent wants is for their child to be happy. When you see your child struggling with making friends in school, being bullied, a parent no doubt hurts for their child. Study after study shows that a child with a healthy self-esteem gets along better with their peers, is less likely to be bullied, and recovers from disappointments faster. As a parent, it is our duty to foster our child’s intellectual, physical, and emotional growth. Instilling in them self-confidence and raising them with self-esteem is an important aspect of their growth.
What if you are a parent who believes that you have been a loving, nurturing parent, yet you see your child continue to struggle? You want real, solid steps to help your child build their confidence and esteem. What should you do? Here are some tried and tested ideas that have worked for me, personally, and with children of my mommy friends.
- Enroll them in martial arts. Take your pick. Tae-kwon-do, karate. If your child is not particularly athletic, this is a great alternative for them. It will not only instill a sense of discipline, physical endurance, it will also teach them self-defense. An added bonus is the new set of potential friends they can meet in this brand-new environment.
- Build a great support system for your child. If you think your child is missing good role-models, of the opposite sex for example, seek out the help of their grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins, friends of yours to spend one on one time with your child. This will help your child feel well-supported, and well-loved, which can be a buffer for times where they feel lonely, or isolated. If you are lacking good role models in your family or circle of friends, you can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters which matches a child with a safe role-model.
- Help your child make friends by being a good role-model. It helps if you start while they are young. Children learn how to socialize by watching how adults do it. Invite friends over, or bring your child along if you meet them out. Let her watch you interact with them; converse, laugh, be at ease.
- Do not reward shyness. It’s strange, but let me repeat it, don’t reward shyness. If your child refuses to say hi to guests, don’t coddle him and explain his behavior away by saying “oh he’s just shy”. Instead, experts suggest requiring your child to practice good habits of interacting with guests, adults and other children alike by prompting him to be polite. “In our house we say hello to guests.” Or, “it’s not polite to ignore our guests.” A shy child especially needs to practice these social graces which may come so easy to other children.
- Teach your child how to join a new group of children. The best way to do this is to teach them how to single out the friendliest face in a group, approach that child particularly and ask if they can join. The friendly child will most likely be well-liked and will say yes, and now your child can join the game, or activity. Expose them to a variety of environments where they can practice this skill. At summer camp, at their martial arts class, at gymnastics, playdates, etc.
Hopefully, these tips will get your child on the way to social and emotional success.