There was a time when no one even considered a child’s self-esteem. Shame and blame were acceptable forms of child-rearing and schooling. Feelings were never considered.
Then several studies showed that children with higher self-esteem actually performed better. They were less afraid to ask questions if they didn’t understand. They had more courage to tackle difficult problems.
They had more perseverance when things went wrong. And they generally were more successful as a result.
Then the tables turned again.
Somehow, efforts at building self-esteem were blamed for low test scores. Building a child’s self-esteem took a back seat to drilling the basics.
The truth is that self-esteem is important, and that those who have it are happier and still outperform those who don’t.
So here are some tips for parents who want to help develop their children’s self-esteem:
• Give your child responsibility. Encourage volunteerism. Doing good makes one feel good.
• Develop a social network that includes family, friends, school, and the community.
• Never humiliate your child. Try to use only constructive criticism, emphasizing that no one is perfect and that everyone can learn from mistakes.
• And finally, let your love be unconditional, based on your child’s worth, rather than on specific “successes.”