Helping Your Child Gain Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

Self-esteem is the sum of children’s feelings about themselves. It represents how they value themselves as human beings. The foundation of self-esteem is formed by temperament, intelligence, and aptitude. According to Lawrence J. Greene in the book 1001 Ways to Improve Your Child's Schoolwork, “During the first four years of life, additional building blocks are mounted on this foundation. These blocks represent family values, child-rearing practices, life experiences, reasonable and clearly communicated expectations, fair and consistently applied rules, and social relationships.” Providing your child with love, security, and appreciation will hold everything together.  A child with good self-esteem will have a strong sense of her own competency, worth, and uniqueness.

You cannot give your child self-esteem. Your child’s self-esteem will not “grow in proportion to the attention or presents lavished on her,” according to Greene. She will have to earn her self-esteem by solving her own problems, overcoming challenges, and dealing with setbacks and failures. She will earn it with her own hard work and perseverance. She will learn to appreciate herself as she develops her talents and experiences her power.

Strategies to Promote Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

  • In school: If you believe your child lacks self-esteem and/or self-confidence because of problems he is having at school, talk to his teacher. If he is having difficulty academically, perhaps the teacher can suggest ways to give him opportunities to improve his self-confidence. For example, he could be encouraged to work on projects that will utilize his talents. School achievement is very important in the development of self-confidence.

  • At home: Create an environment in your home that encourages the development of self-esteem. According to Greene, the ingredients of such a home environment are being able to:
    • Express love
    • Provide emotional and academic support
    • Encourage goal setting
    • Require age-appropriate responsibility
    • Be consistent in your discipline
    • Communicate honestly
    • Encourage independence
    • Praise your child’s accomplishments
    • Define your family’s values
    • Establish reasonable standards
    • Express faith in your child’s abilities
    • Create opportunities for success

If these ingredients are present in your home, your child will feel more secure, will like and respect herself, and will consider herself to be worthwhile and competent.