How to Help Kids Build Positive Self-Esteem

Does your child’s self-esteem rise and fall with the grades she makes?

Does your child’s self-esteem rise and fall depending on who played with him at school that day?

Does your child’s self-esteem crumble if he makes a mistake?

If so, then your child is suffering from yo-yo self-esteem — self-esteem that rises and falls with the ups and downs of life. How kids feel about themselves often depends on what is going on in their lives – what is going on outside of them.

However, powerful self-esteem isn’t based on what is going on outside of them (what is happening in their lives).  Powerful self-esteem is based on what is going on inside of them – who they are and how they think about themselves.

When children’s self-esteem is based on “who they are,” then their self-esteem can remain intact no matter what is going on in their lives.

Here are two simple steps for how to help children start developing self-esteem from the inside out:

First, tell children about the dangers of yo-yo self-esteem and teach them that self-esteem is based on who they are, not what they do. Share some examples with them (such as those listed above) to help them become aware of what yo-yo self-esteem is.  Ask them if they notice this in themselves.  Being aware of a problem is the first step to solving a problem.

Second, teach them how to separate the results of an event from who they are as a person (their identity).  Let’s look at an example.

A very common self-esteem-crusher for children is grades.  When children fail a test, they often get down on themselves – sometimes branding themselves as a “failure.”  But failing a test is an event – something that happened.  Just because they failed a test, doesn’t mean they are a failure. It just means they didn’t learn the material well enough to earn a good grade.

Help kids understand that there is a big difference between feeling down about a bad grade (which is an event) and feeling down about themselves (which is a judgement about themselves).  Self-judgment crushes self-esteem.

Separating an event from who they are enables children to see the event (failing a test) as a problem that gets to be solved – such as spending more time studying or asking for extra help before a test.  This helps children feel more empowered in the situation.

Learning to separate an event from their identity will help children maintain positive self-esteem no matter what is going on in their lives.

by Renaye | Apr 27, 2018

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2018-06-02T17:16:15+00:00

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