Self-Esteem in Children – What’s Really Going On?

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Self-Esteem: What's Really Going On

Do you know how to effectively bolster your child's self-esteem?

Self-Esteem: What's Really Going On

Do you know how to effectively bolster your child’s self-esteem?

Self-Esteem is defined as a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities. Developing strong self-esteem in children is harder today than ever. They are bombarded by images and tales of “success” and “failure” every day through the internet, print media, retail advertising, television, music and peers. They, like adults, are told what is “in” and “out”, what looks are attractive, what clothes are attractive, and what attitudes are attractive.

Developing children, like most of us, want to belong. And, don’t forget, self-esteem is an acquired trait – children are not born with it. Without support and strength from others, children often lack the techniques and skills to be confident in themselves as individuals AND as social beings. The old saying, it takes a village to raise a child, isn’t far off in terms of the support systems kids need in this day and age.

Parents and teachers play an integral role in helping children develop strong self-esteem, and we at Trautwein’s ATA are committed to that effort as well. It is important for children to learn that individuality is important, that everyone has his or her own merits and worth. The knowledge of one’s own value provides strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of prejudice and tenacity in standing one’s ground in a positive and non-hostile fashion. It is important for children to learn that there is no “right” size or weight any more than there is a “right” hair or eye color. Every individual has his or her own talent— be it sports, art, writing, performing arts, etc. —and none is better or worse than another!

Here are some ways parents and caregivers can help:

  1. Show love and affection to your child. Children who are loved develop a strong sense of worth.
  2. Compliment your child. Tell your child you are proud of him/her.
  3.  Make your compliments credible. Exaggerated compliments can have the reverse effect – they can give a child an inflated ego and that can have a negative impact on their relationships and, eventually, on their self-esteem.
  4. Set goals for your child. Set age -appropriate goals for your child and compliment him/her when the goal is achieved.
  5.  Criticize the action, not the person. This seems obvious, but too many adults tell a child he or she is bad rather than telling the child he or she has done something bad.
  6. Validate your child’s feelings. If your child is insulted or hurt, tell him/her that you understand and that you know he/she feels hurt or disappointed…DON”T brush it off!
  7. Be proud of your child. TELL your child you are proud to be his/her parent.
  8. Talk positively about your child in the presence of important people in his life.
  9. Never compare your child to others, saying, “Why aren’t you like Johnny?” When such comparisons are made by others, reassure your child that she is special and unique in her own way.
  10. Make sure that others dealing with your child know your child’s strengths. Be sure teachers, coaches, etc.understand any concerns you might have. This goes back to “it takes a village”.

An integral part of Taekwondo at Trautwein’s ATA is helping children with self-esteem and their feelings about individual worth and value. We work hard to provide each child with a strong sense of identity through hard work, discipline, and support!

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