How to Help Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Here are some tips to help foster a healthy self-esteem in your child:
Watch what you say. Children are very sensitive to parents' words. Remember to praise your child not only for a job well done, but also for effort (be truthful).
- Be a positive role model. If you're excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your child may eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem, and your child will have a great role model.
Identify and redirect your child's inaccurate beliefs. It's important for parents to identify children’s irrational beliefs about themselves, whether they're about perfection, attractiveness, ability, or anything else. Helping kids set more accurate standards and be more realistic in evaluating themselves will help them have a healthy self-concept.
- Be spontaneous and affectionate. Your love will go a long way to boost your child's self-esteem.
- Create a safe, nurturing home environment. Children who don't feel safe or are abused at home will suffer immensely from low self-esteem. A child who is exposed to parents who fight and argue repeatedly may become depressed and withdrawn. Always remember to respect your children.
- Help Children become involved in constructive experiences. Activities that encourage cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in fostering self-esteem.
Give Your Child Positive Reinforcement!
- Acknowledge appropriate behaviors and focus on the positive
- “Thank you for being quiet while I was on the phone.”
- Discuss your child’s performance in school
- “Good job on your math test!”
- Build your child’s self-esteem
- “The dog really likes you.”
- Give your child responsibility and praise/thank him/her after the task is complete
- “Thank you for doing the dishes”
- Appreciate the little things that your child does.
o “You started your homework all by yourself”
How to Evaluate Your Child’s Report Card
- Don’t lose your cool - The report card is not a measure of your child's worth or of your parenting skills, but grades can have an impact on a child's future. Make this point constructively.
- Accentuate the positive - Point out what your child is doing well, whether it's an academic subject or an extracurricular activity.
- Look beyond the grade - The report card only indicates that there is a problem. Compare your child's papers over the year to see his progress. Discuss whether he's involved in too many extracurricular activities. If your child is trying her hardest and still not understanding thematerial, contact the teacher immediately.
- Set goals for improvement - Goals help us getmotivated, but, be realistic. If a child isgetting all C's on his report card now, expecting all A's the next time may be an unrealistic goal.
- Contact but do not attack the teacher: If you have any questions at all, the first thing you should do is call the teacher. Gather more information before charging that something is wrong with the program or the teacher.
Talking to your child about his/her report card:
- Focus on the positive
- Ask the right questions:
- Was the work too difficult?
- Could the pace of the class be inappropriate (too fast, so that your child feels "lost," or too slow, causing your child to feel "bored")?
- Does your child complete all homework and ask questions when problems arise?
The next step:
By reviewing the report card, and developing a plan for the future, you will help your child find the road to success.
- Create a plan to maximize future academic success is an important part of your child's education.
- Emphasize to your child the importance of doing the very best job that he/she can
- Encourage your child to succeed, and measure his/her progress in realistic terms, letting him/her know that you care and are available to help
- Break tasks into small steps, so that your child can help measure his/her growth
- Help your child set realistic and attainable goals for the next reporting period.
- Outline ways in which these goals can be met, as well as rewards and consequences if they are not.
- Involving your child gives his/ her ownership and importance in this process; and this makes the report card important not only to you, but also to your child
Set High Expectations for your Child
What parents should do to help their children understand their high expectations.
1. Describe, as clearly as you can, the behavior you want to see from your child. For example, “I want you to settle disagreements with your peers without yelling or becoming physical”.
2. Make sure your expectations are both reasonable and achievable. For example, A student who has earned all “C”s is probably not going to make the straight-A honor roll in six weeks.
3. Make sure your child agrees that the expectation is both reasonable and achievable.
4. Set short-term goals. Help your child set a goal that both of you know he can achieve. Then set another. For example, first work on not becoming physical with others, and then the next goal could be to eliminate yelling.
5. Praise effort. If your child is really trying, let her know you notice—even if she doesn’t meet all your expectations.
6. Be willing to reconsider and adjust if the goal seems out of reach. If a goal is not unreasonable and your child is making a serious effort to change, there may be other explanations for why your child is having trouble.