How to Enhance Your Child's Self-esteem

By: Dr Janet Hall

A woman called Jane told how she was badly scarred by boiling water when she was four and required a lot of surgery over many years. There are no photos of her in the family album from the age of four until she was sixteen, until she was clear of all her treatments to her skin to get rid of the scars. But Jane said, "She has the only picture she ever needed inside her head and it was put there and engraved indelibly by her mother, when she told Jane everyday;" It's the gift inside that counts Honey and inside you are beautiful."

So what do you tell your children everyday? How good could your children's self-esteem become if everyday you said, "I Love You. You're Beautiful on the inside and that's what counts."

The truth is that everyone is special and unique. We are all different and there is no "normal". Self-esteem refers to the image or picture that each of us carries around in our heads. This image or picture is constructed through our experiences and is strongly influenced by the messages that others send. While children have countless experiences in settings outside their home and receive messages from many sources including their peers it is parents that have the greatest influence on the way children see themselves.

There are three main aspects of self-esteem:

1. Feeling Capable. Children need to feel capable to feel that they have power over their environment and that they can do things to change it. Being Capable is about saying, "I can make a difference!" Even if it's just that I can paint a lovely picture with a real paint brush."

2. Feeling Connected. Children need to they need to know they belong to their family, their school and the broader community. "Hey, I belong here and in my world we share these values and beliefs."

3. Feeling Worthwhile. Every child needs to feel unique and special and unconditionally lovable. They need to know that regardless of what they do, they are an individual who is a worthwhile human being. They are O.K!

So the key message to teach your child is "I'm Capable, I Belong and I'm O.K". If that's the record you help your child have playing in her head, you'll help her to build up a positive self-esteem.

Children's feelings of self-worth or self-esteem influence their happiness,success at school and the way they relate with others. Their self-esteemis influenced by their experiences of success and the messages they receive from those around them. Children with a healthy level of self-esteem usually take sensible risks and extend themselves more, as they have a realistic view of mistakes. Failure doesn't reflect on them personally, they are still OK and they won't fall part when things don't go their way. Children with a healthy self-esteem tend to be more resilient and cope better with problems and any changes that may occur.

Parents can influence children's self-esteem by helping them experience success, no matter how small. co

Here Are Some Simple Strategies You Can Use Every Day To Enhance Your Child's Self-Esteem And Sense Of

1. Develop independence in children. Allow children to do things for themselves as soon as they are able. This sends a powerful message that you think that they are capable and able to take some control over their world.

2. Celebrate children's efforts and achievements. Have a display space at home for schoolwork, art and awards they have received. Change the display frequently and make sure that each child's efforts are represented.

3. Send frequent positive messages to children. Focus on their strengths rather than criticizing weaknesses.

4. Value your children's ideas, thoughts and opinions. Listen to them and help them to express their feelings and thoughts. Accept rather than reject their ideas even though you may disagree with them.

5. Help children experience success by breaking complex tasksinto achievable goals. For instance, a young child can learn to make a bed by first arranging teddies, smoothing the doona and progressing from there.

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Dr Janet Hall Dr. Janet Hall is a psychologist, hypnotherapist, sex therapist, author, professional speaker, trainer, and media consultant. Dr Jan has authored eight books on family and relationship issues and recorded 42 CDs/MP3s, many use hypnosis. She founded the Richmond Hill Psychology Clinic -

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