Importance of self confidence and self esteem
A caregiver’s nurturing contact builds a child’s sense of self worth. When children find themselves to be the center of attention of their parents or their caregivers, it lifts their sense of self immensely.
The definition of self confidence of a child is not unilateral. Its determined on a combination of many events a child experiences – at home, at school and among his peers. Its a child’s ability to take initiation in a task without hesitation. Its his ability to being comfortable in his own skin. Imagine a child who’s academically brilliant, but doesn’t have the self confidence to raise his hand to answer all the questions he knows in class. How’s the teacher to find out about his abilities?
But if the child is self confident, he’s ready to meet challenges, face failures, and quickly adapt to changing situations without his inner monologue blocking his every move. As he grows up, you can trust him to be the first one to hit the dance floor, jump into action to help others who’re struggling and also share his opinions publicly to create a positive environment around him.
Self esteem is how much the child values himself and his abilities. It leads to how he surrounds himself with things that reflect his own view of himself. Children with a healthy self esteem value their interests and their personal contributions to society. They don’t feel the need to embellish themselves with symbols or other crutches that artificially boost one’s status in society. When adversity hits, they often bounce back quickly because they’re not afraid to try harder again and again and again.
Factors affecting self confidence and self esteem in children are:
Many children are naturally anxious about high expectations at home and school as they continue to learn. As they enter middle school, they are also eager to meet peer expectations. Sometimes peer expectations can be in direct conflict with parental expectations. What is cool with his peers might be an absolute no no for a child’s parent.
Setting expectations positively or negatively impact your child’s self confidence.
- Positively: The more you encourage good behavior the more the child is likely to work towards meeting expectations.
- Negatively: If you expect more and more, the burden of meeting expectations on moving targets falls heavily on the child.
Kids can often internalize frustration towards their parents, “How many times do I have to tell you that its becoming too much for me. How many activities have you signed me up for?”
Moving towns or even schools in the middle of their emerging youth years might be a detriment to their self worth. As we all know, finding new friends at any age can always be challenging.
Strategies for improving your child’s self confidence and self esteem
Once in a while, tell your child, “Sweetheart, you’re good enough.” Irrespective of whether they seem to be listening or not, tell your child over and over again, “I believe in you. My goal is to see you realize your highest potential.”
As adults, we don’t consciously draw a line at where we will stop in pushing our children. Its when we as parents don’t strike a balance with our expectations, our children suffer.
Encourage curiosity: Applaud your child’s curiosity and their drive to understand things and customs around them. Explain cultural contexts patiently.
Embrace their uniqueness: There’s a reason why diverse teams in Global companies are successful. Let your child explore her strengths.
Practice self compassion: Share tips on how to boost self confidence. “Smile. Dress well. Assume no one’s judging, because no one can really.” Give honest and a compassionate review of tasks your children have completed.
Take their opinion: When you’re grocery or clothes shopping with your child, ask him to choose one item over another, and then let him explain his preference. Show him that his ideas matter.
Understand his environment: The school provides a safe place for making and learning from their mistakes. Don’t be in denial about the influence his school and peers have on him. A majority of his waking hours are spent at school.
Accept them: Assess where she stands. Is your child capable of what you’re pushing him to aim for? Does he have the potential for it? Don’t discipline them by: shaming, inducing guilt and withdrawing hugs and smiles.
Quality time: How much quality time are you spending with your child, without any distractions? Thank them for their time when they agree to go for a bike ride with you.
Positive reinforcements: Even for the low grade in that test, encourage and positively reinforce them to do better next time. Better yet, offer them help with their pain points. Reveal to them about stress and complexity of real life. Let them see all sides of you.
Self advocacy: Inculcate the terms of self advocacy in your child. Tell them how they deserve to be treated no matter what the circumstance. They have to be taught how to ask for what they deserve.
Demonstrate unconditional love: As a parent once you’ve set expectations, boundaries and consequences tell your child how much you love them. Tell the how managing deadlines and obligations is necessary for self preservation and growth.
Stepping stones: Allow them to explore their own solutions when its not a life and death situation. If the task if hard, encourage them to fail. Failing simply means they’ve found out all the different ideas that won’t work for them to achieve their goal.
Mistakes happen: When a mistake turns into an unacceptable outcome, tell them, “There’s a way to figure out how we can do the right thing to get yourself out of further damage.” Be there without judgment, that means a great deal for them.
Seek feedback: Ask them feedback about how you’re doing as a parent. Tell them your goal is to raise happy confident children who realize and reach for their full potential.
If you want to know more about managing self esteem across cultural identifications, read here.