How to Build your Child’s Self-Esteem

Written by: Charles Smith, M.S.
How to Build your Child’s Self-Esteem

A child’s self-esteem begins with a positive self-identity, which is critical for building a foundation for confidence, happiness, and emotional well-being. When children have a positive self-identity, they can navigate through life with a sense of purpose and feel like they belong. These children gain confidence and can persevere when facing challenges in school and all areas of their lives. A strong sense of self-identity and self-worth also drives children to confidently pursue their passions without giving into self-doubt, which can hinder personal and academic growth. The mission for parents and mental health professionals is to help nurture and develop a child’s positive self-identity, so they can reach their full potential and lead meaningful and productive lives.

The How and Whys:

  • Step 1: Encourage your child to embrace their unique qualities (i.e., race, culture, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, talents, etc.). By embracing what makes them unique, children can fully appreciate themselves and feel a sense of inclusion.
  • Step 2: Celebrate your child’s accomplishments often, using positive affirmations. Their accomplishments are a great way to increase their sense of self-worth and ensure that they feel valued.
  • Step 3: Teach your child healthy coping skills (i.e., mindfulness, deep breathing, positive self-talk, guided imagery, etc.). These skills provide the foundation for children to manage their stress levels and regulate their emotions.
  • Step 4: Expose your child to various extracurricular activities. These activities encourage children to find opportunities to be successful and build self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Step 5: Provide your child with a safe and supportive environment. Ensuring that your child feels safe and supportive creates a non-judgmental environment where they feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Step 6: Help your child to develop healthy relationships with their peers and family members by utilizing assertive communication skills and reinforcing the use of “I” statements. Providing children with appropriate communication skills provides them with the foundation to stand up for their own needs and wants, while also considering the needs and wants of others.
  • Step 7: Teach your children the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting strategy by encouraging them to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals for themselves. This strategy provides children with the skills needed to improve their confidence and self-esteem, after achieving success.
  • Step 8: Teach your child to use a strength-based approach to problem-solving. Reminding children to focus on their strengths and achievements rather than dwelling on their self-perceived limitations which can hinder their overall growth and development.
  • Step 9: Help your child to recognize their negative thoughts and inner dialogue. Once recognized, children can be encouraged to replace negative self-talk with their own positive affirmations (i.e., reading scriptures, inspirational quotes, positive messages, etc.) aloud.
  • Step 10: Provide your child with positive modeling of self-esteem and expose them to positive mentors. This exposure enables children to demonstrate how to meet challenges with confidence and resilience.

By following these 10 steps, parents can support their child(ren) to build a positive self-identity and create strong values that are necessary to protect their mental health and well-being. The provided tools equip your child with the necessary strategies needed to combat negative external forces and beliefs that often cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. In conclusion, positive self-identity is necessary for mental health and overall well-being. A child’s self-perception can have a long-lasting impact on their mental health, relationships, and academic success. Learning to accept and love themselves at this