Babies don’t see themselves in a good or a bad way. They’re not concerned if their diaper makes them look fat. They don’t care too much about the appearance of their “ugly cry” or the affects of the sounds and smells they share with those around them. But starting at an early age, we can begin complimenting them on their accomplishments…first steps, new words, imitated actions. And so the journey of developing a healthy self-esteem for your child begins.
As good parents, we need to determine the level of self-esteem in our child. Here are a few things to look for in reaching this decision:
- When with other kids for the first time, (start of a school year, move to another city) does your child make friends right away or feel like a loner?
- If the parents are divorced, a child may think they have to be super good all the time if they feel the blame for the divorce. They may feel inadequate which lowers their self-esteem so they are constantly trying to prove their worth. Do you see this in your child?
- If your child dresses with their unique style and it makes them feel separate from the rest of the kids, they need to be reassured it’s not a bad thing to be their own person. Do they constantly fuss about the clothes you have picked out for them to wear and want to dress like everyone else?
- Kids that deal with a disease or illness could feel less confident about themselves.
- A child that is a little slower in learning than the rest of the kids in the class may deal with self-esteem issues. Look for signs of not wanting to read or write in front of others.
We must make it our responsibility to raise our child’s self-esteem so that they grow up content in who they are. They can’t think they have to be like everyone else to be accepted by others.
Children and teens like to hang out with those that have high self-esteem.
- A child that is confident can be more enjoyed by those around them. Other kids will feel safe around them since they won’t have to constantly be on pins and needles afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing to hurt their feelings or to be rejected. Do other kids gravitate to your child?
- Kids that feel good about themselves don’t usually try to get attention by making bad choices. Kids that feel good about themselves will find other kids that need a friend and concentrate on them. Others love to be around someone that really cares about them and it is not always about themselves.
- Someone with low self-esteem can say hurtful and destructive things to others to bring them down to their level. Do your kids cut others down?
Excessive criticism to a child can result in an overly self-critical person. Take a test, parent! Do your kids hear more negative remarks than positive ones?
What our kids wear can affect them in a negative or positive way. Emphasizing great importance on dressing our kids in expensive name-brand clothes all the time could be a detriment to them. It’s not healthy to raise your child with the mindset that if they don’t wear name brand clothes and shoes that they will not be accepted by their peers. This has messed up many a kid. If they think they need to have expensive clothes to fit in, then it could be an indication that they need a boost of self-esteem. I am not saying make them wear trashy, outdated clothes, but just be wise in this area. You can dress them nice and in style without going broke. If your family can afford the higher priced clothes then go for it, but it would be good to teach your child to compliment kids that can’t buy the $150 shoes. We don’t want our kids to think they are better than those who don’t live their lifestyle. By the way, this needs to start when they are young, then you won’t have such a problem when they are refusing to go to middle school without big name shoes like the others.
Media, spoiled kids and peers are trying to convince kids that they have to dress a special way to be liked. Yep – not true!! A parent that teaches their kids to find acceptance from others by what we wear are instilling in them that their appearance is the most important part of being a great and well-liked person. We don’t want to take them down that road! We want our kids to grow up with a healthy inner self – that will help them with their outward appearance.
Keeping them clean and neat is much more important than emphasizing the brand of clothes we buy them. We don’t want to let our kids go to school or church if they don’t smell good or if they have bad breath. Trust me – having another kid comment to them about those things doesn’t help with their self-esteem! For some crazy reason, some kids don’t smell their own unpleasant odors and if it wasn’t for the parent to take a whiff, the child might have less friends to hang out with! Also, parent, keep them within the current time zone. Don’t force them to dress like your generation…now that could really mess with their self-esteem. 🙂
To Do: Make it a point to notice if your child’s hair is clean and neatly combed. You can discreetly check to see if they have body odor, if their breath is bad, if their clothes aren’t clean or if they are just sloppy. You will be doing them a huge favor in making friends and also raising their self-esteem when you help them to have good hygiene. Also, go online and have your older kids take a self-esteem test. This will help you to know where they are and what they think of themselves.
Family Time: As warmer weather approaches, spending more time together outside with lift the winter blues! Consider finding some bike trails for a family outing. Or take the them on a hiking adventure one Saturday. Pack their favorite treats and make it a memorable day of bonding.
Time to Smile: One mother took her five year old daughter shopping with her. The little girl watched her mother try on outfit after outfit, exclaiming each time, “Mommy, you look beautiful!” A woman in the next dressing room called out, “Can I borrow your daughter for a moment?” (Yes, everyone likes to feel good about themselves.)
Recommended Reading: Dateable: Are You? Are They? by Justin Lookadoo (A great book for your older teen.)
Previous Recap: Raising Your Child’s Self-Esteem (Part 2) We are learning how to raise our child’s self-esteem to create a masterpiece. Be sure to read the previous blog as we continue to learn more.