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Health Information For Parents
Sometimes it’s easy to notice when kids seem to feel good about themselves — and when they don’t. We often describe this idea of feeling good about ourselves as “self-esteem.”
Kids with self-esteem:
Kids with low self-esteem:
Kids who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things. They are more likely to try their best. They feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem helps kids cope with mistakes. It helps kids try again, even if they fail at first. As a result, self-esteem helps kids do better at school, at home, and with friends.
Kids with low self-esteem feel unsure of themselves. If they think others won’t accept them, they may not join in. They may let others treat them poorly. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves. They may give up easily, or not try at all. Kids with low self-esteem find it hard to cope when they make a mistake, lose, or fail. As a result, they may not do as well as they could.
Self-esteem can start as early as babyhood. It develops slowly over time. It can start just because a child feels safe, loved, and accepted. It can start when a baby gets positive attention and loving care.
As babies become toddlers and young children, they’re able to do some things all by themselves. They feel good about themselves when they can use their new skills. Their self-esteem grows when parents pay attention, let a child try, give smiles, and show they’re proud.
As kids grow, self-esteem can grow too. Any time kids try things, do things, and learn things can be a chance for self-esteem to grow. This can happen when kids:
When kids have self-esteem, they feel confident, capable, and accepted for who they are.
Every child is different. Self-esteem may come easier to some kids than others. And some kids face things that can lower their self-esteem. But even if a child’s self-esteem is low, it can be raised.
Here are things parents can do to help kids feel good about themselves:
Help your child learn to do things. At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. Even during babyhood, learning to hold a cup or take first steps sparks a sense of mastery and delight. As your child grows, things like learning to dress, read, or ride a bike are chances for self-esteem to grow.
When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. Then let them do what they can, even if they make mistakes. Be sure your child gets a chance to learn, try, and feel proud. Don’t make new challenges too easy — or too hard.
Praise your child, but do it wisely. Of course, it’s good to praise kids. Your praise is a way to show that you’re proud. But some ways of praising kids can actually backfire.
Here’s how to do it right:
Instead, offer most of your praise for effort, progress, and attitude. For example: “You’re working hard on that project,” “You’re getting better and better at these spelling tests,” or, “I’m proud of you for practicing piano — you’ve really stuck with it.” With this kind of praise, kids put effort into things, work toward goals, and try. When kids do that, they’re more likely to succeed.
Be a good role model. When you put effort into everyday tasks (like raking the leaves, making a meal, cleaning up the dishes, or washing the car), you’re setting a good example. Your child learns to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up toys, or making the bed.
Modeling the right attitude counts too. When you do tasks cheerfully (or at least without grumbling or complaining), you teach your child to do the same. When you avoid rushing through chores and take pride in a job well done, you teach your child to do that too.
Ban harsh criticism. The messages kids hear about themselves from others easily translate into how they feel about themselves. Harsh words (“You’re so lazy!”) are harmful, not motivating. When kids hear negative messages about themselves, it harms their self-esteem. Correct kids with patience. Focus on what you want them to do next time. When needed, show them how.
Focus on strengths. Pay attention to what your child does well and enjoys. Make sure your child has chances to develop these strengths. Focus more on strengths than weaknesses if you want to help kids feel good about themselves. This improves behavior too.
Let kids help and give. Self-esteem grows when kids get to see that what they do matters to others. Kids can help out at home, do a service project at school, or do a favor for a sibling. Helping and kind acts build self-esteem and other good feelings.
A healthy and positive body image means liking your body, appreciating it, and feeling grateful for its qualities and capabilities. Parents can help kids develop a healthy body image.
For teens, concerns about appearances often take center stage. But if these concerns are all-consuming, cause extreme distress, and keep them from doing and thinking about other things, it may be a sign of a condition called body dysmorphic disorder.
Parenting is incredibly challenging and rewarding. Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help.
When your body changes, so can your image of yourself. Find out how your body image affects your self-esteem and what you can do.
Does your boyfriend or girlfriend treat you as well as you treat him or her? Does your BF or GF support you in good times as well as bad? Does he or she get who you really are? Find out if you’re in a healthy relationship.
Many people think of guys as being carefree when it comes to appearance. But guys spend plenty of time in front of the mirror. And some worry just as much as girls do about their looks.
Confidence means believing in yourself and in your abilities â not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic, secure way.
For some people, worries about appearance become extreme and upsetting, interfering with their lives, a condition called body dysmorphic disorder.
If a person is struggling with extra weight, it can add to the emotional ups and downs of being a teen. Get some tips on coping here.
We all have problems with self-esteem at certain times in our lives. Here are some tips that might help.
You need self-esteem, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Find out what it means to feel good about yourself.
It’s normal to wish you could change something about your body. Find out more about these feelings in this article for kids.
How do you like your height? Check out this article if you feel too tall or too short.
Your body’s changing – and if you’ve ever felt out of step with it, you’re not alone. Find out how to deal with body changes and feelings in this article.
Feeling down? Got the blues? Everyone feels sad sometimes. Find out more in this article for kids.
Learn how to encourage good behavior, handle tantrums, and keep your cool when parenting your toddler.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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