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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    Re-Empowering Your Child with Self-Esteem

    As a parent, it's normal to want to instill in your child(ren) feelings of security and self-worth. However, this can be a tricky task in today’s world fraught with unreasonable expectations of success, often out of reach of even the most intelligent and talented children. Protecting against a damaged sense of self-esteem can hover as an anxious undercurrent during an already very chaotic time for adults.

    The first step one needs to consider when trying to build their child's self-esteem is being mindful of the language used. Do you point out or highlight mistakes and weaknesses rather than strengths or successes? If so, it’s time to shift unconsciously adopted habits and mindsets and needs to become a role model of positive communication and interaction. Every word and deed can have a lasting impact on our children; be conscious of how your words and behaviour affect them and stay mindful of any potential triggers.

    In addition, it’s essential to show your child that mistakes are a learning experience, not failure, by shifting the perspective. Consider replacing phrases such as “you're wrong” with “let’s look at that together and see if we can find an alternative way to solve this problem”. Challenging them in a supportive and engaging way while still allowing room for mistakes may lead to great successes, both small and large.

    Encouraging independence, responsibility and self-reliance is also beneficial in building self-esteem. Empowerment of a child isn't about completing tasks for them or giving them too much leniency; it’s about giving them the trust, support, and guidance needed to take on new ventures as a part of the learning and growing process. Praising every effort no matter how small helps make positive associations with experiences, and reinforcing these types of habits slowly builds confidence and self-assurance.

    Engaging in shared activities and providing resources for exploring interests outside of school will also give children a beautiful mixture of enjoyment and challenge. A warm and trusting connection must be maintained to lessen anxieties and create a safe space for learning and growth. This will help form a secure base when times of distress inevitably present themselves, providing comfort that one can identify, feel and work through difficult moments without feeling judged.

    When children hear and observe adults talking positively and using kind words, they learn to trust more, think positively and feed off positive energy. It is crucial to be aware that vulnerable moments are times of great learning. By engaging with one's child during these times, seeing them as capable, resilient and intelligent, one can help show them–and teach them–that even difficult moments are there to be embraced and discovered.

    Re-empowering your child with self-esteem takes patience, compassion, and attentiveness, but it can be done. Taking the time to assess language, choice of activities, provide important resources and creating a strong parent-child relationship allows children to discover the amazing potential they carry within.

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