One of the major components in motivating your child to achieve success is “Self esteem”. Most parents are very much aware of how self esteem is highly emphasised in our day-to-day lives… as adults we understand the significance ofhaving self esteem or the lack of it, which affects us positively or negatively; when we feel good about ourselves, we become confident and face life head long, often very productive in undertakings.
On the contrary, lack of self esteem stems from feelings of unworthiness, guilt, depression, humiliation, constant feeling that others are better than you, a person who lacks self esteemis often an under achiever, and do not seek to work to his maximum potential.
The Foundation of Self-Esteem
To the world, you are a person; to a young child, you mean the world.
From the first days of your baby’s life, you can lay the foundation for self-esteem by responding appropriately to your child’s signals for help (distress, anger, etc.) and fun (interest and enjoyment).
As parents you are the most important people in your baby’s world. You provide your child with his first definitions of himself. You tell him through your every word, gesture, and action just how important he is and how he is perceived by the outside world.
It’s common for growing children and as well as adults to fluctuate between episodes of high and low self-esteem over the course of months or years. However, a solid foundation of self-esteem—built by appropriate responses to a child’s signals and nurtured throughout childhood—will help most people maintain a basically optimistic view of their lives and their future over the course of life’s ups and downs.
How Self-Esteem is Damaged
Some parents inadvertently diminish their children’s self-esteem by interfering with or belittling their signals for interest and enjoyment. This triggers the automatic, built-in response of shame, and shame erodes self-esteem. It is common to see families in which both the parents and children have a variety of troubles related to a poor sense of self and self-esteem. The adults in these families often don’t understand how feelings and emotions work. The family ends up in a toxic situation because there is a mismatch between the child’s expression of emotional needs and the parent’s ability to respond appropriately.
Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is important in and out of the classroom. Teachers and parents can support self-esteem by remembering some of the following:
- Always accentuate the positive. Do you ever notice those suffering from a low self- esteem tend to focus on the negative? You’ll hear statements like: ‘Oh, I was never any good at that. ‘I can’t keep friends’. This actually indicates that this person needs to like themselves more!
- Avoid criticism. Those suffering with low self-esteem struggle the most when given criticism. Be sensitive to this.
- Always remember that self-esteem is about how much children feel valued, appreciated, accepted, loved and having a good sense of self worth. Having a good self-image.
- Understand that as parents and teachers, you play one of the biggest roles in how good or bad a child can feel about themselves – again, avoid criticism. Influence from a parent or teacher can make and break a child’s sense of self-esteem. Don’t abuse it.
- Turn mistakes inside out and focus on what was or will be learned from the mistake. This helps a child focus on the positive, not the negative. Remind students that everyone makes mistakes but it’s how those mistakes are handled that makes the difference.
Self-esteem is an important component to almost everything children do. Not only will it help with academic performance, it supports social skills and makes it easier for children to have and keep friends. Relationships with peers and teachers are usually more positive with a healthy dose of self-esteem. Children are also better equipped to cope with mistakes, disappointment and failure; they are more likely to stick with challenging tasks and complete learning activities.
Self esteem is the bedrock of success in everything. It is attractive because researchers have conceptualised it as an influential predictor of relevant outcomes, such as academic achievement.Contributed by: Tolu Opanuga (Mrs) Kids/Teen Life Coach www.raisingworldchampions.org