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The 10 Things Parents Can Do to Boost Their Kids' Self Esteem

by Kay Ireland, studioD

A child's self-confidence can be a lot like a roller coaster. One moment, she's flying high after getting a good mark on a science project, and the next moment, her confidence is down in the dumps because some friends left her out. As a parent, it's your job to boost your child's self-esteem so that she's able to withstand the things that can hurt her confidence. You can help build true and lasting self-esteem by focusing on small ways to tell your child that she matters.

Praise the Effort

It's easy to praise your child for things out of her control, like her super long hair or her button nose. But instead of focusing on things that come naturally, praise the stuff that she can control, like her effort in studying for a math test or being nice to a sibling.

Pay Attention

When your child is talking, stop what you're doing and listen. Trying to multitask while your child speaks says "You're not as important as my smartphone/housework/computer." Instead, stop what you're doing and be attentive so your child knows that you're listening.

Allow Mistakes

It's hard to see your child suffer the consequences of her mistakes, but swooping in and saving the day could rob your child of self-esteem building experiences that help her cope with mistakes, losses and consequences. Small mistakes can help her learn that she doesn't always need an adult to deal with the consequences for her.

Don't Compare

Your child probably already compares herself to her friends, so make sure you don't follow suit. Comparing your child to another only causes her to see her weaknesses matched against another child's strengths. If you catch your child comparing, acknowledge that the other person has talents, but then name off a few positive traits your child can be proud of as well.

Be a Cheerleader

Cheerleaders stand and encourage from the sidelines -- they never step in and play the game. As a parent, you won't be able to play your child's flute solo, take a math test, stand up to a bully on the playground or make healthy choices for her, but you can offer praise and encouragement from the sidelines to help build up her self-esteem.

Provide a Safe Environment

Children feel the most comfortable with consistency and enjoy confidence when a safe environment is provided for play, family time and study. Create a home atmosphere where your child feels safe and protected, and she could feel more comfortable in her own skin.

Monitor Influences

Certain things can influence your child's behavior, from the stuff she watches on TV to the type of friend she has at school. DrSears.com suggests tuning into your child's influences and deciding whether or not they're positive. If your child has negative influences, like a group of unfriendly peers or an unhealthy TV show, you have a chance to talk about those influences and even remove them from your child's life.

Be Affectionate

A well-placed hug or a pat on the shoulder can go a long way in boosting your child's sense of self-esteem, says KidsHealth. Showing your child that she's important to you and loved can help build her confidence level.

Offer New Experiences

Whether it's a trip to the museum, traveling or exploring a topic online, allowing your child to have new experiences can help her feel smart, valuable and bonded to you, all of which can help boost self-esteem levels. Make a point to expose your child to a large spectrum of experiences; the quality time will be just one of the perks.

Model Confidence

If you're constantly putting yourself down, it doesn't set a good example for your child. If you want to improve her self-esteem, work on your own as well. That way, she sees that self-criticism isn't acceptable and that it's OK to love herself.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

Photo Credits

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