If your child is young, you might be wondering how you can help them build a healthy sense of self-esteem as they grow up. Self-esteem and confidence are rooted in the knowledge that even if you can’t do something right away, or you do not know the answer to a problem right off the bat, you have the skills and patience to learn the skill or tackle the issue.

To build these creativity and problem-solving skills, and get the hang of practical talents that will serve your child well, they need to put effort into learning. Furthermore, they have to get comfortable with making mistakes and trying again. In the end, self-esteem is as much about persistence as it is about sheer ability. Here are a few ways that parents can help their children build the foundation of self-esteem.

Encourage Your Child to Try New Things

First, it’s important to encourage your children to try new things. This could be a new sport or hobby, like arts and crafts, or playing a musical instrument. It might mean getting on stage in the school play. Trying different things is the key to learning.

Your child will get more comfortable with the idea of going out of their comfort zone. They will be challenged with new skills. Yes, this will mean making mistakes! But mistakes are a crucial part of the process. Your child will get used to picking themselves back up after a mistake and moving forward anyway.

Don’t Compare Your Child to Others

You might be tempted to tell your child to mimic what someone else is doing, or suggest that they try practicing a skill exactly like one of their friends. But when it comes to building self-esteem, comments like this can be a slippery slope.

Even if you’re just making a casual suggestion, your child might assume that you’re putting them down, or that they’ll never be as good at something as one of their friends. Instead, give your child suggestions without bringing other people’s abilities into your recommendations.

Give Praise for Good Effort

Praising your child’s effort is as essential as praising your child’s successes. If your child only ever receives compliments and praise when they succeed at something, they might conclude that it’s only worth trying an activity if they’ll succeed easily.

Effort itself might seem silly or worthless. But if you make it clear to your child that effort itself is commendable, they’ll be willing to work harder at mastering skills that don’t come easily.

Focus on Your Child’s Strengths and Unique Aptitudes

Of course, it’s a good idea to prompt your child to try a wide range of activities. However, let your child know that they have unique strengths and aptitudes, and give them the opportunity to explore these aptitudes. Your child will gain confidence from using their natural talents, whether those talents lie in athletic, creative, or intellectual pursuits.

Be a Good Role Model

Finally, consider whether or not you show your child that it’s okay to fail at things or go out of their comfort zone. Are you willing to try new things alongside your child, even if it means messing up at times? Do you speak very critically of yourself if you happen to make a mistake?

Demonstrating a strong sense of self-esteem in yourself is just as crucial as trying to instill self-esteem in your child. After all, children learn through imitation.

Do you worry that your child is struggling with low self-esteem? They might benefit from talking to a therapist. Contact with us to learn more about our child and family therapy services.



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