We live in a world where children are expected to excel at school, church, and in their athletics. It's interesting because there are many kids who believe in their own talents. They may even see themselves as having more abilities then you give them credit. And yet there is another type of kid who appears to be under so much pressure today to perform academically and athletically. He doesn’t know his self-worth and constantly doubts himself. If he doesn't excel in either of those ways, he won’t feel good enough and won’t believe he measures up by today's standards. As the parent, you know that each child possesses individual and unique gifts and yet conveying that to your child may be difficult.
If you have a child who seems to get lost among the masses and does not necessarily have good self-esteem, it will be important to remind your child of his/her uniqueness. This of course means that you have to invest in your child's emotional love tank. And you can do this in a variety of ways on a daily basis.
If you have ever read Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages for Children, you know that children feel accepted by one of five ways: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.
As you think about your children and what they seem to crave from you is it more often: cuddling, praise, spending time with you, what you buy them or what you can do for them? Recognizing what the primary love language is can assist you in validating self-worth. This is one of the many ways that you can invest in their emotional love tank.
Another simple way of improving children’s self-esteem involves creating a list of about 25 adjectives that describe their uniqueness. Maybe they are caring, loving, compassionate, bright, intelligent, determined, persistent, loyal, generous, passionate, patient, gentle, accepting, or creative. Take five seconds out of your day and comment when you find an opportunity to point out one of their personality strengths. It reminds them of one of the personality gifts that they possess that has nothing to do with their abilities but in essence has to do with their personhood.
Kids that do not know their self worth tend to
measure their life based on what they can do.
The third thing you can do to reinforce their specialness is to notice the effort that they put into their own personal situations. This means you have to notice the progress a child is making in his or her own life. So many kids have difficulty making friends so when you note that they are talking to somebody on the bus stop, you reflect back to them that you noticed it. If your child would benefit from organization and spent some time in the room picking up his clothes, you let him know that you appreciated the time he spent on de-cluttering the room.
If your child spends all of his time gaming and he comes out to join you while you're making dinner, tell him how much you appreciated his company.
Noticing the effort helps to reinforce positive behaviors that you want to see in your child. A child will actually develop more confidence and clarity as a result.
As a parent you can't do the hard work for them but you can reinforce those qualities that will contribute to a better sense of self-esteem and confidence in the future.