Teach my child about 'Self Esteem'
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Self-esteem Overview

Self-esteem Overview

Typically children have a good level of self-esteem but some children can suffer with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem often comes from either abuse from parents/guardians/carers or from a lack of unconditional love and support. Quite often parents that only give out love after a child has achieved a required milestone are likely to be raising a child with low self-esteem. Or maybe the parents themselves have low self-esteem and it is a copied behaviour.

Whatever the underlying reason, a lack of self-esteem can be a major stumbling block to enjoying a happy and successful life. Children with a good level of self-esteem are typically happier, more positive, confident and motivated than children with lower self-esteems. In addition they are less likely to be bullied and will be more likely to try to push and improve themselves as well as being happy to try new things since they are not afraid to fail.

There is a danger of having too much self-esteem too. This is also not a good situation for children since they are perceived as arrogant, cocky and potentially aggressive or threatening. This can lead to a lack of social awareness and also depression when they fail to meet their own very high expectations. Some people with high levels of self-esteem can be completely secure and be able to handle criticism well. However, some have a fragile high level of self-esteem, which when criticised, can suddenly become overly defensive and distinctly unlikeable.

To teach children a good level of self-esteem without being over the top, spend lots of time playing and listening and loving your children. But also teach classic personal traits such as kindness, humility and love and respect for others and discourage aggression or bullying behaviour at all times. See our other article on 'LOVE AND SUPPORT' .

Key Advantages of an optimal level of self-esteem

  • Happiness and secure
  • Positive attitude
  • Courageous
  • Always trying to learn and improve
  • Self Motivated
  • Self Confident
  • Less likely to be bullied
  • Confident

Key Disadvantages of low self-esteem

  • Linked to depression and unhappiness
  • Insecurity
  • Negativity
  • Anxious
  • Fearful of trying new things in case of failure
  • Shy
  • Vulnerable to being bullied
  • Poor Social skills
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of motivation

Key Disadvantages of overly high (fragile) self-esteem

  • Linked to depression and unhappiness
  • Fearful of trying new things in case of failure
  • Aggression and violence : temper problems
  • Cockiness and boastfulness
  • Inability to make real friends
  • An inability to improve themselves since they will never admit to any faults

What can I do to increase Self-esteem for my child?

  • Unconditional Love
  • Always show positive support when needed. Help them get good at anything they show a talent for (without being too pushy). Once a child gets better than their peers at something it gives them a real confidence boost.
  • Be a positive person, always see the glass as half full and not half empty
  • Listen and play with your kids and spend genuine time with them. Pretending to play with them while you check your works' emails is telling your kids they are worthless. This is a terrible message. When you play, give them 100% attention. It doesn't have to be for long, but when you do it, do it properly. If children see you spending your valuable time with them, doing something they choose especially, this is a great positive indicator to a child that they are important to you.
  • Praise your child and show positive vibes to your child much more than you criticise or correct behaviour. Correcting behaviour of children is 100% necessary, after all they learn from you. But if this is all you do then the child's natural reaction will be "I am worthless and useless". So parents need to go out of their way to find LOTS of things EVERY DAY they can GENUINELY praise their children for.
  • Make sure your child has a set of values from home. Honesty and integrity and being kind and helpful.
  • Avoid intensive parenting and trying to get social mileage out of your child's achievements. This is conditional love and often leads to problem children.
  • Try and encourage your child to get physically and aerobically fit, participate in sport and eat healthily. People who are very fit rarely have self-esteem issues.

What can I do if my child suffers from fragile High Self-esteem for my child?

  • Try to teach love, understanding, compassion for others
  • Help them take part in a project for disadvantaged people
  • Teach your child that the best way to get on in life is being able to get on with others
  • Encourage sharing
  • Teach and praise acts of humility

Children with a good level of self-esteem but also compassion and love for others have the best chance of being happy and fulfilled. Follow our guidelines to help your child have the self-confidence to achieve their potential whilst being sensitive to other people's needs too.


"Helping Children Build Self-esteem" resource

"Helping Children Build Self-esteem" resource

This book is not free but has self esteem improvement activities and is designed to be used a hands on tool to help children build self-esteem. It has generally good reviews though we have not checked it ourselves.