Self-esteem is the way you feel and think about yourself. It is the belief and confidence in one’s own worth, ability and values. It can also be defined as an individual’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth which could either be high or low.
As adult have self-esteem so do children. It can start when a baby gets positive attention and loving care. As babies become toddlers and young children, they’re able to do some things all by themselves. They feel good about themselves when they can use their new skills. As they grow, self-esteem can grow too.
Kidshealth online says why self-esteem matters is that children who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things, adding that they are more likely to try their best. “They feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem helps children cope with mistakes. It helps them try again, even if they fail at first. As a result, self-esteem helps them do better at school, at home, and with friends.”
It stated further that children with low self-esteem feel unsure of themselves. “The thought that others won’t accept them, makes them shy away from joining their peers in activities and that makes such children to let others treat poorly. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves. They may give up easily, or not try at all.
Children with low self-esteem find it hard to cope when they make a mistake, lose, or fail. As a result, they may not do as well as they could.”
Psychologists have also said if you possess a little regard for self, it can lead to depression, the person will fall short of their full potentials, or the person will tolerate abusive situations and relationships.
A parenting, emotional intelligence and anger management coach in Abuja, Mrs Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi, while defining self-esteem said, if you have a positive and great feeling about yourself and your capabilities, you are said to have a high level of self-esteem but if you possess little self-regard, or a negative feeling about yourself, it’s called low self-esteem.
She said, it’s been proven over and over again that children with low self-esteem are prone to be sexually molested and even bullied, adding that the best gift a parent can give to his or her child is to develop his self-esteem.
“More important than what children need to learn is what they can be. Self-confidence promotes coping skills, solution-finding and the full potential of every child regardless of their situation. Self-confidence is displayed in resilient individuals who show resourcefulness, perseverance, optimism, determination and creativity.”
Mrs Ogunkanmi said parents can raise their children with high healthy self-esteem explaining that she used the word healthy because there is an unhealthy high esteem where the child feels so pompous and becomes corky and believes the world belongs to him at the detriment of others. “This type of child will always have entitlement mentality.”
Steps to healthy self-esteem
– Parenting starts with you. Do you have a good sense of self-worth? As the saying goes, you cannot give what you do not have. Start by repairing and healing yourself. Hurting people hurt others. A parent with a low self-esteem will raise a child with one
– Love your children unconditionally and express your love based on their individual love language
– Give individual attention to each child
– Help your child to identify his strengths and abilities. Let him know that he was created specially with unique abilities
– Encourage their efforts and acknowledge their success and victory
– Do not over praise them, this might lead to them not believing in themselves if they know within them that they did not do a good job and we praise them, they would think we are not being sincere
– Let every mistake be a learning opportunity, do not shame them when they make a mistake
– Let them make choices and decisions themselves.
– Create opportunities for them to take decisions, even if the decision was wrong, they will use the opportunity to learn
– Always use positive words to address your child. Negative words and name calling affects the psyche and esteem of everyone.