10 Things That Can Hurt Your Child’s Self-Esteem


Self-esteem. We all want our kids to have it. We hear tons about HOW to improve our child’s self-esteem. What we sometimes don’t know are the things that can actually HURT our child’s burgeoning sense of self. So its very necessary to take your child care seriously

A World of Endless Possibilities

When our kids have self-esteem, the world is an endless source of possibilities. Possessing an awareness of one’s self that includes confidence and the ability to be an effective agent in one’s own life has a significant impact upon happiness across the lifespan. The question is how to help our kids develop and maintain it for life. Helping to instill this characteristic is not as elusive as you might think.

There are many parenting strategies that contribute to raising ethical, successful and confident kids. Bloom: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids, which I co-authored with Dr. Lynne Kenney, highlights an approach which is the most promising way I know to raise incredible people. It’s no secret that the sought-after qualities possessed by extraordinary young people belong to kids whose relationship with their parents provides a solid foundation from which to grow.

This is true when it comes to self-esteem, too. However, the things we think might help boost the self-assurance of our children may actually backfire. There are a few steps you can take to avoid these pitfalls. I’ve outlined 10 things to avoid if you wish to boost your child’s belief in herself:

10 Things to Avoid When You Wish to Boost Your Child’s Self-esteem

Don’t constantly praise your child.

Sounds peculiar, doesn’t it? Most of us have likely been raised to believe that praise helps build self-esteem. While it’s true that kids need positive feedback, a constant barrage of, “You’re so wonderful…you’re so smart…you’re the best soccer player,” does not help a child grow in confidence. Instead, work towards praising specific things your child has done, regardless of the outcome. Rather than saying, “Oh, you are the best artist. I love how beautifully you draw,” try, “Wow! This is so colorful! You took so much time and care in drawing it. Let’s find a place to hang it so we can look at it often!” Notice the subtle difference here? You are praising effort and not attaching any judgment as to whether or not you “like” what your child did. Your child’s take-home message? “I’m a hard worker. I take great care in the things I do. My mom (or dad) recognizes my effort.” Okay, maybe your young child does not have the ability to verbalize it in that manner, but her heart will get the message loud and clear, by the feeling she derives from your specific praise.

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