Children nowadays are bombarded with media images which can lead to superficial beliefs and even lead to baseless and shallow imitations. How can concerned individuals, parents and teachers help build a healthy self-esteem based on sound character ethics and help each child celebrate his/her unique individuality and just be themselves?
Here are a few tips and suggestions to build a healthy self-esteem in children.
- Tell your child how unique and special she/he is: A healthy self-esteem can be developed in a child if she/he is appreciated by their parents and teachers for their own uniqueness. Parents can specially show their affection by telling the child as often as possible how unique and special they are and how much they are loved. Teachers can make special cards for each student in the class celebrating the positive characteristics and behaviors of the child. In this way, teachers can help build a strong rapport with the child and also encourage each child in his/her overall growth and progress in all spheres, mental and emotional.
- Shower your child with honest praise: Children need to be showered with honest praise when they exhibit positive and healthy behavior like being kind and considerate towards others. When a child is making progress in his/her academics or other extra-curricular activities, it is important that parents and teachers cheer them on and appreciate them. Participation and the effort a child has put in should also be recognized and not just “success.” Instead of criticizing a child, honest praise when they are doing something appreciable will work wonders. Children with a healthy self-esteem will then be able to take positive criticism in their stride. They will be able to take more responsibility for their actions and work on improving themselves when required.
- Try to understand your child’s unique perspectives and feelings: Encourage your child to be a free thinker rather than a conformist. If your child is uncomfortable about something or wants to do something differently, try to understand and objectively discuss the issue taking into account his/her feelings. In this way, a child will be more confident and free to make his/her own choices and take calculated risks when required and freely explore new ideas and things around them. Encourage them to keep their spirit of curiosity and inquiry alive without the fear of intimidation. Also, encourage your child to speak out, discuss and even debate certain issues that they may have to grapple with as they become older. In this way, the child will be able to build a healthy self-esteem without the fear of intimidation, and at the same time, have mutual respect for others who have different perspectives and views.