By Dr. Candice Render, Educational Psychologist at the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology
Cultivating a healthy self-esteem for your child is key to a lifetime of well-being and happiness
Children with high self-esteem value themselves and have a more realistic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, while children with an unhealthy self-esteem, often have a hard time fitting in and don’t always have control of their emotions.
Research shows that more and more teenagers are suffering from low self-esteem, this is more prevalent in girls than boys. Statistics suggest that up to 70% of girls in Western countries suffer from low self-esteem especially when it comes to their body image. Girls as young as 10 years old are afraid of being over-weight and often compare themselves to their peers. On the other hand, the number one cause of low self-esteem with boys, is obesity.
Reasons for Low Self -Esteem
When parents are not responsive to the needs of their child, he or she can grow up without any attachment to their parents. Therefore, early nurturing is vital and helps set a child up and make him or her feel good about themselves.
Moreover, if a parent is suffering from low self-esteem it tends to affect the child; a parent should never speak negatively or talk down about themselves in front of a child as this causes the child to feel that they too need to change something about themselves in order to be happy.
Way to Boost Self -Esteem
Spend quality time with your kids. Regardless of their age, do an activity together where you give full attention to them; this will make them feel important and hence improve their self-worth.
Always reflect a positive image of your child. Your opinion of them counts, and they always want to please you. Thus, make sure you are giving them positive reflections.
When a child see’s that you trust them to do something, they begin to feel they are an important part of the family. For example, when a teen is helping with the dishes, he/she gets a sense of accomplishment when the job is finished.
Being Part of a Team
Children that are involved in sports or other team activities are less likely to experience low self-esteem because being part of a team gives the child a sense of belonging. It also helps them work together with others towards a common goal.
Always encourage your child to express their feelings instead of hiding them. Make sure that your home is a safe zone where a child can say whatever they feel without fear of judgement.