How to Build Positive Self-Esteem in Your Children 

by | Jul 5, 2023 | Marriage and Family, Mindset

Helping your kids see themselves in a positive light as they grow up is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Positive self-esteem is essential in their childhood years, as it’s shaping the foundation for the way they’ll see themselves as they get older, which in turn affects all of their relationships. 

There are so many factors that play into a child’s self-image—who they spend time around, the amount of attention they get, the skills they develop. The list goes on and on. While every child will have different experiences that shape the way they see themselves (even when they have the same parents!), there are some things you can do to help ensure your child builds positive self-esteem.

Help them pick up new skills—and reward them for their effort

Picking up new skills often boosts confidence in children. There’s nothing like seeing a child’s eyes light up when they first succeed at something they’ve been practicing … and you can help ensure they do this by giving them opportunities to learn new things as often as possible.  

One thing we might not think about is the type of praise we give to our kids after they master something new. In a study performed on a group of 5th graders, the students were given either praise for their intelligence, or praise for their effort after completing a set of problems. Researchers found that the students who were praised for their effort were more likely to challenge themselves and even performed better on future problems, compared to those who were praised for just getting the answers right. 

Next time your child is working on mastering a skill, try mentioning how proud you are of their work ethic, rather than their results. This could help them build their positive self-image and ability to master new skills in the long run.  

Give unconditional love. 

If you’re constantly talking to your kids about their performance at school, in sports, etc., it can be easy for them to feel like that’s the only thing that will make you proud of them. When they do fail (and they will at some point … we all do), their self-esteem will likely plummet since they’ll feel like they’ve let you down and ruined the one thing you care about the most. 

Make a point to remind your child as often as possible that you love them unconditionally. This can make a bigger impact on your child’s self-esteem than you might think.

Be a solid role model.  

Kids pick up so many of your habits by watching you and being around you every day. That’s why one of the best ways to help them gain confidence in themselves is to have confidence in yourself.  

If you’re constantly talking about things you don’t like about yourself, or you’re not comfortable trying new things, your kids will notice and will likely follow suit. Strive to show your children that you’re happy with who you are now, while working hard to reach your goals. This alone will help them build up their own positive self-esteem more than you might think. 

Your influence matters.

While outside factors may influence your child’s self-esteem, you are an important piece in it, too. The way you respond to them during their successes and failures is going to set the tone for the way they see themselves throughout their lives.  

For more tips on family life from us, read our blog post here on “3 Things You Should Know About Family Values.”