Healthy promotion of self esteem skill among children is very important as it can help them grow as a positive and confident personality. This article would be helpful for parents and teachers to help learn this very essential life skill for their children. There are many techniques and tips which are useful to empower and boost the self esteem skill.
Webster's dictionary defines self-esteem as "a confidence and satisfaction in oneself" and self-concept as "the mental image one has of oneself "
Self-esteem is considered to be the overall value that one places on oneself as a person (Harter, 1989), whereas self-concept is viewed as the body of self-knowledge that individuals possess about themselves (Rosenberg, 1986).
When parents and teachers of young children talk about the need for good self-esteem, they usually mean that children should have "good feelings" about themselves. With young children, self-esteem refers to the extent to which they expect to be accepted and valued by the adults and peers who are important to them. During their early years, young children's self-esteem is based largely on their perceptions of how the important adults in their lives judge them. The extent to which children believe they have the characteristics valued by the important adults and peers in their lives figures greatly in the development of self-esteem. For example, in families and communities that value athletic ability highly, children who excel in athletics are likely to have a high level of self-esteem, whereas children who are less athletic or who are criticized as being physically inept or clumsy are likely to suffer from low self-esteem.
Children and teenagers with low self esteem will display a variety of traits, including:
- Being easily influenced by advertising or others.
- Avoiding new challenges for fear of failure.
- Becoming frustrated easily by setbacks.
- Blaming others when activities are unsuccessful.
- Disbelieving that (s)he has any talents or special abilities.
- Feeling unloved.
Children and teenagers with a high level of self esteem and strong feelings of self worth will also display stereotypical traits, such as:
- Welcoming new challenges.
- Tolerating frustration.
- Taking responsibility for unsuccessful ventures.
- Recognising and sharing his/her talents and special abilities.
- Feeling loved, and loving others in return.
While many children develop self esteem as they grow, for some children self esteem must be nurtured and tended. Parents and teachers can help the children develop this life skill by adopting few simple tips and techniques. Parents are at the front line of promoting children's self esteem, and while often their opinion is enough to make even the littlest chest swell with pride.
Be loving with your child, giving hugs and kisses regardless of achievements.
Help your child set realistic, attainable goals.
Praise your child for the effort, not for the outcome.
Avoid criticising your child's performance at a given task, and instead praise his/her enthusiasm or imagination.
Encourage your child to engage in activities due to interest, not ability.
Do not tolerate self criticism from your child. Help him/her focus on positive points.
Lead by example. Do not criticise yourself in front of your children.
Foster a caring environment at home by dispelling sibling rivalry.
Sources: Developing Self Esteem
Debbie Mandal at 'Bella Online' who si a stress management editor suggests these tips to boost child's self esteem:
* Exercise: Children need to be active to relieve stress hormones and sharpen learning ability which improves by 20% after exercise. Athletics, teams, dance classes and one-on-one sports training create empowerment by literally strengthening both the body and the mind.
* Healthy eating: If you want children to think highly of themselves, make sure that they eat quality foods, not junk. Food and mood are connected. A rainbow array of fruits and vegetables create sunny dispositions. Lean proteins promote academic success. Whole grains help manage stress.
* Guiding children to pick a creative hobby: Nurture their creativity. Nothing boosts self-esteem like developing a creative gift which might range from cooking and constructing to singing and writing. Through creativity children can tangibly identify and observe their uniqueness. “Look what I did.”
* Carving out private time: Children are overscheduled and over-stimulated. They need quality, private time to explore and find their own way to reset their natural rhythm. You don’t have to constantly amuse them when they say, “I’m bored.”
* Give them responsibilities and chores: Even if you have a nanny or a housekeeper, children need to do chores. Contributing to the household gives them structure and accountability which creates personal pride. Small children can help set the table or pick up their toys.
* Humor: Laughter breaks negativity instantly. Show your children how to reduce and reinterpret those “little disasters” with a comic eye. Children who have a sense of humor are magnets for positive social relationships.
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