, author: Plackhin A.

You're the best: how to boost your child's self-esteem

Why is self-esteem important, how does it develop, and can parents help their child improve it? Let's find out with the experts.

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Self-esteem is the value that children place on themselves and their perceived importance in the world. Confident children are unafraid to try new things and take pride in their abilities.

A person's self-esteem is formed from birth and is influenced by their parents' attitudes and the people around them. As children grow up, they contemplate their future selves. According to psychotherapist and clinical psychologist Eugene Gibert, this is the period when a child begins to form their self-esteem.

Having appropriate self-esteem helps children accept their mistakes and try again, even if they fail the first time. It also helps them learn better in school and socialize in society. Therefore, it is important to develop self-esteem that matches who they are, neither too low nor too high.

A child with low self-esteem lacks a solid foundation and is more susceptible to life's challenges. They may struggle to resist bullying, have difficulty making friends, and often perform poorly in school due to difficulty showcasing their abilities. According to Vladislav Ardan, founder of the project 'Russia Without U', children with low self-esteem often develop psychosomatic illnesses.

On the other hand, overestimating one's self-esteem is also problematic.

The child may overestimate their importance, which can lead to the development of pride. This can cause them to prioritize satisfying their desires and react with irritation and aggression when faced with obstacles, which can negatively impact their relationships with others.

The expert advises that it is important to help the child develop a healthy sense of self-esteem so that they can feel comfortable in society.

A child with healthy self-esteem can handle the challenges that arise in life without being derailed. According to Vladislav Ardan, these are the benefits of having normal self-esteem. They are not afraid to showcase their potential, which leads to greater success in academics and other areas of interest. Additionally, they are able to form more effective relationships with others


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How self-esteem develops

Self-esteem begins to develop in infancy: the child feels safe, loved and accepted. As the child grows older, he tries to do things without help. When he can use his new skills, he feels good about himself. A child's self-esteem grows when parents pay attention to the child, allow the child to try things on his own, smile and show their pride in his accomplishments. It is important for a child to feel safe and accepted for who they are.

"A child's self-esteem never develops on its own. It happens under the influence of the immediate environment. First, parents and other close relatives - from what they say about him, how they evaluate his actions. The formation continues in kindergarten, where the baby enters into interaction with peers and evaluates their attitude to himself. The greatest influence is exerted by the school. If a child is lucky and his educational institution has teachers with a purpose rather than a position, there is a high probability that they will help the child to form a healthy self-esteem," says Vladislav Ardan, founder of the Russia Without Us project.

A happy family.

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How parents can boost a child's self-esteem

All children are different. If the child is constantly judged or criticized in kindergarten, school, and parents do not support him morally in any way, then his self-esteem begins to decline. He becomes a victim, fully confident in the deserved attitude to himself of others. Here you need to act immediately, to search for the cause and raise the self-esteem of your child, notes psychotherapist, clinical psychologist Eugene Gibert.

Here's what parents can do to help their children feel more confident:

Help your child learn to do new things. At any age, a child needs to learn new things. Even in early childhood, being able to hold a spoon or take their first steps evokes feelings of superiority and happiness. As your child grows older, things like learning to dress themselves, ride a bike, read, write, etc. will be opportunities to build self-esteem.

When you teach your child to do something, first show them, help them. Then allow your child to do their best, even if they make a mistake. Make sure your child has the opportunity to learn, to try, and to be proud. Don't make new tasks too easy or too difficult.

Praise your child, but do it wisely. Of course, praising children is a good thing. Your praise is a way of showing that you are proud of them. But some ways of praising your kids can have unpleasant consequences.

Here's how to do it right:

  • Don't praise excessively. When praise seems undeserved, it sounds unconvincing. For example: telling a child that he played a game perfectly when he knows he didn't seems hollow and fake. It's better to say, "I know you're capable of more, but we all have bad days. I'm proud of you for not giving up." Express hope that next time will be better: "You'll probably do better tomorrow."
  • Praise the effort. Try not to focus your praise on results (e.g., getting a great grade) or on certain qualities (e.g., being smart or athletic). Rather, most of your praise should be for effort, progress, and attitude. For example: "You are working hard on this project," "You are improving more and more," "I am proud of you for playing the piano," "You really tried hard." With this kind of praise, children strive for something.


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Recognize your role in your child's life.

Most parents unfortunately take a passive position towards their own child. Daughter-mother games usually last until about 7 years old, until school. After that, parents are often not involved at all. However, it is important to engage in further preparation for adulthood. It is not enough to assume that everything will happen by itself. According to Vladislav Ardan, founder of the project 'Russia Without Twos', confusing children with inadequate self-esteem is a common result.

To avoid this, parents must understand their role in their child's life and act accordingly.

Ardan suggests becoming a truly adult parent, one who is respected and trusted by their child. This is the key to successfully building self-esteem.

Girl on a swing.

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Looks matter.

Psychotherapist, clinical psychologist Eugene Gibert advises to pay attention of parents to the child's appearance:

1. Teach child to be neat. In any situation neatness in clothing, in behavior will help the child always look and behave decently.

2. Dress you kid beautifully and fashionably. In adolescence, clothing and accessories are very important. No one will notice your child's defects if they have fashionable clothes or shoes, which many people wish they had. In real life we evaluate others by their appearance and only then by other parameters, it is the same with children.

3. Teach your child to be popular. The number of his friends, as well as his success in school depends on it. Good performance in school will allow him to easily and quickly take in this life his own place, the best of those to which he aspires. More popularity is the ability to speak beautifully and competently (people will always reach for orators), or the ability to do something better than others.

4. Teach your child to say "NO". The child must have his own opinion, in this case he will definitely be respected by his peers.

5. Give child more autonomy, praise more often for what has turned out, do not compare with other children if he failed.

Be an example for your child.

"Treat your child very carefully. Only in this way you will be able to notice the difficulties he is experiencing and immediately respond to his problems. Finding the weaknesses of your child, try to strengthen them immediately. But don't forget that first of all you need to increase your self-esteem, i.e. be a role model. Only in this way will you be able to achieve high self-esteem in your child," advises Evgeny Gibert.

A confident woman.

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Self-esteem is important for both children and adults, but it's never too late to improve it. Sports psychologist Natalia Mityushina lists effective ways to improve your self-esteem:

  • Challenge negative thinking.
  • Use positive affirmations.
  • Do exercises to release "happiness" hormones (dopamine, serotonin).
  • Surround yourself with people who will support you.
  • Focus on the positives.
  • Socialize more with friends and family.
  • Take time to do activities that you enjoy.

Self-esteem is something that can be changed over time, the main thing is to accept yourself, all your strengths and weaknesses and start acting!