Self-esteem is a phrase that is uttered so frequently, especially when talking about children and young adults.
However, despite it being used so often, most kids don’t know what it means or recognise the causes that can lead to low self-esteem.
With 61% of girls aged between 10 and 17-years-old having low self-esteem, this is a crucial issue to address.
So, how can you help your child to understand and boost their self-esteem?
Explaining Self-Esteem To A Child
A child is very unlikely to state openly that they have low self-esteem. Instead, they’re more likely to use phrases such as ‘I’m rubbish at maths’, ‘I’m not clever’ and ‘I’m no good at sports’. Essentially, they’re describing themselves as ‘not good enough’.
In fact, it is often extremely rare for children and teens to describe themselves as ‘excellent at English’ or state that they ‘love the way they look’.
With this in mind, this idea of self-esteem needs to start with the focus of self-love and a child being able to think; I’m ok with who I am.
For self-esteem in children, it’s planting the seeds where they can begin the recognise the great things about themselves.
Then, this can develop into the comfort of being able to express their achievements, talk about their strengths and, hopefully, move away from the negative self-talk.
In many cases, our own self-esteem issues can transfer to a child without even realising. In fact, research suggests that a child’s self-esteem is already established by the age of five. This may be due to the cues that children pick up through parent-child communication.
Often a child’s self-esteem is similar to those closest to them.
So, if you’re demonstrating high levels of self-esteem, your child is likely to have similar levels of self-esteem too.
It’s important to remember that low self-esteem, at any age, stops you from being your best self.
Low self-esteem can cause children to doubt their abilities, so much so that they may want to stop activities they used to enjoy. Alternatively, your child may not go for things they are passionate about because they are anxious.
As a result, they could waste their potential and may feel low when they should be feeling great!
Fortunately, as parents, there are ways that you can help to boost your child’s self-esteem and, in turn, strengthen your relationship too.
Here are three simple solutions that you can implement right now, to boost your child’s self-esteem and perhaps improve your own too!
Tip One: Finding Things To Love
Find a quiet, reflective moment with your child. For young children, this may be before bed. For teens, this could be during a shared time, such as after a movie, or during a dog walk.
Then, ask them to tell you one thing they love about themselves.
Whatever the child offers up can be as small or as unusual as they like. This is their opinion and as such, it so crucial not to ridicule, trivialise, question or joke about what they share.
When they have shared what they love about themselves, turn it into a conversation and back what they say up with your own confirming opinion.
The child says they love their smile.
You follow up with; ‘Yes your smile lights up the room, your beautiful smile makes me feel so happy.’
This is something you can do two to three times a week as a maximum. Each time, a child will start to think about aspects of themselves that they rarely consider.
Overall, they build up a more positive picture of their whole selves. This can help to develop a positive mindset and improve their self-love.
Tip Two: Join In With Finding Things To Love
Putting your child on the spot to tell you something they like about themselves can come with pressure. You can alleviate that pressure by saying that they can ask you the same question.
When you share what you love about yourself, it’s building conversation.
Your child will feel like you are joining in, rather than focusing solely on the child’s response.
You can ask them what they think about the thing you have shared and create a dialogue about all the positive attributes you both have.
Not only does this tip help to improve your child’s self-love and communication with you, but it also boosts your self-esteem too!
Tip Three: Positive Affirmations
It’s time for teens to put their smartphones to good use! This tip focuses on children being able to send themselves happy messages which are known as positive affirmations.
Start with asking your child to come up with positive words that describe themselves or ask them about what they want to work towards. These statements need to be true or something your child strongly believes about themselves.
If they don’t think the statement is true, then this strategy won’t work.
Example statements could be; ‘I am a hard worker’, ‘I always try my best’, ‘I am creative’ or ‘I am loved’.
The key to creating these statements is that they should always start with ‘I am’.
When the statements are ready, ask your child to type these into their phone and set them as a reminder, so they pop up at the same time every day.
The best time will depend on your child; it could be as soon as they wake up, to start the day on a positive note, it could be the last thing before bed, or as soon as they get home from school as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Bonus Tip: Do this yourself! This is a great way to boost your own confidence. As we mentioned above, the higher your self-esteem, the more this is likely to rub off on your child too. It really can benefit you both!
We do understand that starting these strategies can be difficult, especially if you or your child has critically low self-esteem.
So, if you’re struggling to start the conversation, we want to help. You can call us on 07725 766100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.