Self Esteem: The Real Deal

By Karen DeBolt | 20th Jan 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Techniques

There’s been a myriad of articles and even whole books written regarding the importance of self-esteem, how to build self-esteem, and whether there is really such a thing as self esteem. It can be quite confusing for a parent who is concerned about raising a child into a health and well adjusted adult.

Dictionary.com defines Self Esteem as:

1.a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.
2.an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.

And they report that the word originates from Phrenology—the study of analyzing the bumps on a person’s head to discover various attributes about that person.

Yikes, no wonder Self Esteem seems to have so much baggage attached to it. It means both a realistic as well as exaggerated favorable impression of oneself? How can that be? (sigh)

So, for this reason I tend to shy away from using this word at all. I will use Self Confidence instead often, but the bottom line is that we all want our kids to have a realistic idea about what a great kid they are. I believe that by having that special knowledge your child will be more self confident as they move through the world.

So, how can you help your child to have a realistic idea about him or herself? Here are some ideas:

1.Encourage a variety of adventures. Allow your child to try to do as many different activities as they have interest in trying plus a few that they are not so sure about. Some easy things in addition to very challenging things will give your child a chance to shine.

2.Praise your child specifically. You have heard me talk about this in my free report. This is not empty compliments or general “good job” comments, but praising specific things that your child is doing in the moment. If you need that report again, just hit reply and let me know you need it again, and I’ll send it over immediately.

3.Allow your child to fail. Failure is more important than success in building self esteem. The child who learns to manage their frustration and can get up to try again is building self confidence and self esteem. It’s the hard fought victories that build character.

4.Encourage effort not outcomes. Using specific praise to acknowledge the effort your child is putting into a project is much more valuable than that prize that may or may not ever get earned. Persistence is one of the key qualities in success in life—notice it and comment on it.

I hope this shines a little light on the subject of how to build self-esteem in your children. I welcome your comments or questions

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