[Y]our children will face many curveballs in their young lives, those things that can have a knock-on effect to their confidence levels. These can include…
- Problems at school, such as bullying from other children.
- Issues within the family unit, such as being in the middle of a child custody battle.
- Failing at something, such as a competitive activity or a school exam.
As the parent, you are responsible for countering some of the negative effects that hurt your children. You are also responsible for bolstering their confidence levels, so their self-esteem doesn’t plummet when they face life’s challenges. You also need to be the person who is not directly responsible for damaging their confidence levels in the first place. There is a lot for you to think about as you raise your child, but as the parent, that has to be expected. Thankfully then, we are here to help you along the way.
Nine Ways to Effectively Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem
- Don’t do everything for your child, as they will never learn to stand on their own two feet if you are constantly pampering and mollycoddling them. Sometimes, they need to work things out on their own. When a challenge comes along, they need to meet it head-on, without you, as the parent, telling them how to overcome it. Yes, you can be there to guide them along the way, but they do have a brain of their own, and they need to be allowed to use it, even if they do make an error of judgment.
- Empower your child, giving them choices in some of the day-to-day decisions of your family lives. This could be something as simple as choosing the breakfast cereal from the supermarket, for example, or you may let them choose how to spend their pocket money, whether you agree with the purchase or not. You are helping them grow in confidence by giving them responsibility, as well as giving them a self-esteem boost by showing them that you trust them.
- Improve your child’s chances with their peers by not doing anything that is going to cause them ridicule and embarrassment. So, don’t kiss your child at the school drop-off if there is a chance their peers are going to notice and make fun of it. Leave affection at the front door. Don’t dress your children in clothes that are going to make them stand out awkwardly when in front of the kids at school. Sometimes, fashion is important, and you can see more here. Don’t get in between the fights your children have at school. If you see them arguing with others, only step in when you think your child has a chance at getting hurt or is going to hurt somebody else. What we are saying is this: don’t be the embarrassing Dad, as your child may suffer because of it.
- Encourage your child to take up a hobby, as this will develop their skills and enable them to meet people who will accept their interests. However, don’t impose your opinions on what hobbies they take up. While you might think involving your kids in martial arts is a great way to toughen them, for example, such a sport isn’t right for everybody. Let them go where their talents lie, where they aren’t guaranteed to fail, and they will become more confident as a result.
- Don’t belittle your child, no matter how angry you are with them, or how funny you think you are being with your comments. Your child will get belittled enough at school, thanks to school bullies and insensitive school teachers. As the parent, be the safe person, the one who doesn’t criticise them for every mistake they make, and the one who doesn’t pass judgment on the clothes they wear or the things they buy. Scold your child when needed, say ‘no’ if they make the wrong choices, but think through your words before you unleash them.
- Teach your children to stand up for themselves, such as role-playing situations where they may get bullied. Give them good advice on dealing with conflict, and show them the right and the wrong way to go about things. While there are no easy answers to some of life’s conflicts, your child will still be able to weigh up the pros and consequences through some of the life lessons you can teach them.
- Don’t impose unfair expectations on your child, as you are setting them up to fail. Allow them to go at their own pace, with only a little guidance to steer them on the right path. If your child thinks he has to do something purely to please you and gain your approval, then he is not doing things with the right motives. You need to be unconditional in your love, whether they match your expectations or not. Push them too hard, particularly when it’s into doing something against their wishes, and you are going to damage their self-esteem.
- Don’t teach your child that failure is bad, as we all make mistakes. In life, we all fail at something, but it’s how we pick ourselves up afterward that counts. Don’t berate them for doing something wrong, but reflect with them on what happened, and teach them how to move forward, better and stronger. Imperfection is what makes us human, and as we mentioned in our last point, if you expect your children to be perfect, you are setting them a target that is impossible to reach.
- Find support for your child, when you have seen the signs of low-self esteem within them. There may be people at school who can help, such as a learning mentor or a guidance counselor. You may know people amongst your family and friends who can take them under their wing, showing support to strengthen your child’s confidence in different ways. As we said earlier, these people shouldn’t pamper your child, but rather use strategies to give your child the confidence he needs.
It’s a tough job being a parent, but it’s a tough job being a kid as well. By following the tips above, you are bettering their chances of growing up with a confident mindset, no matter what hurdles life throws in their way. So, thanks for reading, and if you have any advice of your own, be sure to let us know.
Contributed post. Feature image via Pixabay.