As a mom of a teen and tween, one of the things I am focused on is helping my children develop healthy self-esteem.
Like some of you, one of my goals is to raise confident kids (and adults). That’s why I am always looking for ways to build my children’s self-esteem.
In this post, I am going to share some practical things you can do to build self esteem in your kids.
Before we dive into that, let’s talk about why it’s important for kids to have healthy self-esteem.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR KIDS TO HAVE HEALTHY SELF ESTEEM
- Kids with healthy self-esteem respect themselves and expect others to respect them.
- Children with healthy self-esteem aren’t people pleasers. They don’t spend all their time trying to please people so they can be accepted.
- When kids are confident in themselves, they don’t see themselves as victims and are more likely to stand up for themselves.
- Children with healthy self-esteem are not afraid of rejection. They are willing to put themselves out there and pursue their goals.
- Kids with positive self-esteem don’t make excuses for their shortcomings. They are responsible and hold themselves accountable for their actions.
- Children with positive self-esteem understand they don’t need to be perfect to be liked or accepted. They are comfortable in their own skin.
While there are lots of reasons for helping your kids boost their confidence, the above are some of the most important benefits of building healthy self-esteem in your kids.
Many adults struggle with low self-esteem for one reason or the other. I have gone through periods where my self-confidence was at an all time low because of my circumstances.
It’s not a pleasant feeling when you feel unloved or unaccepted (or think you have to work really hard to be accepted).
Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes your confidence will take a hit. Unfortunately, our children will also experience these ups and downs.
We can’t always shield our kids from unpleasant circumstances, but if we prepare them and give them a solid foundation, they will be able to rise above challenges and setbacks, and won’t allow them to destroy their confidence and self-esteem.
There are lots of ways (and things you can do) to boost your kids confidence. Here are some easy and practical things you can do.
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HOW TO BUILD SELF ESTEEM IN YOUR KIDS
1. MAKE THEM FEEL LOVED
Making your children feel loved is one of the easiest ways to boost their confidence.
When kids feel loved, they feel secure and confident. They know they don’t have to act out to get some attention or go out of their way to earn your love.
There are a lot of ways to make your children feel loved.
One of the easiest ways is to provide messages that build them up.
For example my children never get tired of hearing me say “I love you.” It makes them feel warm and special because they know that I am here for them and I care about them.
You can also write them love notes, send them cards or buy them little gifts every now and again. My kids still have some of the love notes I wrote to them in 2015.
Another way to make children feel loved is to spend time with them. I know there’s a lot of debate about quality versus quantity time and how much time you should spend with your kids.
All I can say is that you should spend as much time as you can with your kids depending on your family circumstances.
Sometimes, the demands of life make it hard to spend a lot of time with our kids (for example working single parents), and there’s not a lot you can do about that.
But make every minute you spend with your children count. Be fully present when you’re with them. Be attentive and available.
When I spend time with my kids I try to really listen to them because it’s one of the easiest ways I learn what’s really going on with them.
Kids like it when they feel heard. They enjoy it when they know you care about their thoughts and feelings.
When you spend time with them, you’re giving them an opportunity to express their feelings and to share their concerns and doubts with you.
You can also make your children feel loved when you care about their interests and activities.
Kids can tell when you pretend to be interested in something they enjoy so don’t even try to fake it (ahem).
Over the years, my kids have been interested in different topics and activities and they always want to share their interests with me.
I don’t always have the time and sometimes I’d rather do something else, but I know these things are important to them so I have learned to care about their interests and hobbies.
Finally, as a homeschooling mom, I have come to realize that I still need to spend time with my kids outside our “school hours.”
This can be a bit challenging since homeschooling takes a lot of my time, but my children still need their “mommy” time with me.
I try to spend one-on-one time with my children every week when I can give them my full attention.My children really look forward to our “dates” so I try to keep them no matter how busy or tired I am.
My daughter says these dates really make her feel special and loved. It’s totally worth it to hear her say that.
Recommended: The 5 Love Languages of Children
2. BE AFFIRMING
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said some hurtful words to your kids.
Unfortunately, I have been guilty of letting anger get the better of me. I have said some mean and hurtful things to my kids that I regret.
As a mom, I am not always kind or patient. Sometimes I just want to make a child feel bad because I think that’s the most effective way to get my point across.
But that hardly ever works.
Instead, I end up making my child feel incompetent or inadequate.
Words can build up or destroy so we need to be really careful what we say to our children. We must guard our tongues and be mindful to not disparage or bring them down.
It’s very hard to rebuild confidence once it’s been destroyed so we need to be mindful of that.
Don’t make your kids feel they are not good enough or smart enough. Don’t compare them with their siblings or other kids because you want them to behave better or differently.
The day one child accused me of treating their sibling better than them, is the day I knew I had been doing something really wrong.
It’s easy to make careless statements without thinking of the effect it has on our children.
These days, instead of lashing out when I am angry, I try to breathe and take a moment before speaking. When I do say something, I try to focus on the issue and not the person.
This has really helped me and I hardly ever say hurtful things to my kids even in the heat of the moment.
So if you have been careless or hurtful with your words, it’s not too late to change. You can learn how to be more affirming so you can build your kids self esteem and boost their their confidence.
3. DON’T MICROMANAGE THEM
Like us, kids need an opportunity to learn by doing and also to learn from failure.
M natural tendency is to protect my kids and to shield them from anything that would hurt them.
But that isn’t always the best thing to do.
When you micromanage your kids or do everything for them, you may be sending an unintentional message to your kid. That you don’t trust them or that you don’t think they can do something (whatever the thing is).
You should be willing to allow your kids to fail and learn from their mistakes. Kids need some independence. They don’t need to ask or check with you before they do every single thing.
I want to raise kids who are independent. Kids who can take the initiative when required. Children who are capable of making good decisions on their own.
And the only way I can do that is to give my kids some freedom and space.
When you foster independence in your kids, you’re telling them that you trust them and you trust them to make good choices.
And that’s a big boost to their confidence.
Of course how much freedom/independence you give your kids depend on their age and maturity so use your best judgement here.
If you are not sure whether you’re micromanaging your kids or not, check out the articles below for some helpful tips.
4. GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE
As a family, everyone needs to pull their weight and contribute to the home.
One way to do this is by giving your kids age-appropriate chores. Assign some responsibilities to your kids instead of trying to do everything yourself.
When you allow your kids to do their part in the home, you’re building their self-esteem.
When kids contribute to the home, they feel a sense of belonging and importance. They feel needed and they know that they are an essential part of the home.
There are lots of ways your children can contribute to your home, so find opportunities for them and give them a chance to become responsible.
5. BE A ROLE MODEL
The best way to teach your kids to respect themselves and others is to model the behavior for them.
When you respect yourself and display positive self-esteem, it sends a powerful message to your kids.
Conversely, if you constantly berate yourself or put yourself down, your kids will notice and may start believing that is the norm.
Our kids are always watching us and whether we know it our not, we have the power to influence them for good or for evil.
For example, as a mom, if you are always complaining about your weight, looks or imperfections, your daughter may end up becoming self-conscious or preoccupied with those things too.
If you want your daughter (or son) to develop a positive body image, you have to model it for them.
We have to be mindful of the messages we send out to our kids.
If you have some self-esteem issues of your own, it may be time for you to deal with them so you can help your kids develop positive self esteem.
Remember that kids are more influenced by the actions they see than the words they hear.
Parental self-esteem is an essential part of building self-esteem in kids.
The way you treat yourself sends a powerful message to your kids and it affects how they view themselves.
So remember to treat yourself with kindness and give yourself grace.
Embrace yourself, imperfections and all because you are loved and you’re beautiful.
If you’re a Christian mom dealing with negative self-esteem, I recommend the book below:
BUILDING SELF ESTEEM IN YOUR KIDS
Raising kids with positive self-esteem is the goal of most parents.
There are different ways to build self esteem in your child including engaging in self-esteem building activities.
Other things you can do include: giving your kids opportunities to contribute to the home and being a role model for them.
Kids with healthy self esteem grow up to be confident, secure and have a healthy sense of self-worth.
Recommended book for teens: The Ultimate Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens