Give them more space to make mistakes, and don’t just tell them they’re amazing. Building a child’s self-esteem often feels counter-intuitive, but it’s also one of the most rewarding things a parent can do.
Self-esteem is the innate feeling that one is a valuable human being who can handle the challenges one is likely to face. Children who have high self-esteem are more likely to succeed in school, more likely to have good friends, and less likely to fall into depression or delinquent behavior.
The following advice might help you encourage higher self-esteem in your child:
- Step back. Give your child a chance to make up her own choices, take her own risks, manage her own struggles, and have her own success stories. Whenever you solve a problem for your daughter, you’re also sending the message that she cannot do it on her own. If you need to step in, involve her, and do so in a way that maximizes her input, rather than replacing it.
- Offer the right praise, not a general “you’re amazing”. Children build their self-esteem by knowing what they’re really good at. Therefore, when you praise, always be sincere and as specific as possible. “You’re really good at soccer” or “that’s a very beautiful drawing” are much more likely to be believed then “you’re perfect in every way”.
- Trust your kid. Give him age-appropriate chores around the house, and he will fill proud of being a useful and effective part of the family.
- Spend time with your children. Let them know you appreciate your time together and take an interest in their opinions and experiences. Moments of genuine connection and bonding allow the internalization of one basic idea – I am a valuable person whom others wish to spend time with.
- Love unconditionally, and let your child know you always have his back, no matter what he does and whether he’s successful or not. That will allow him to venture out, risk making mistakes, and more frequently than he might be expecting – enjoy his successes.
Many parental monitoring apps limit the child’s ability to use a phone, by blocking content or limiting screen time. However, apps for controlling phone usage might do more bad than good. A parenting app like Jiminy, allows parents to monitor their child’s phone, but still gives them the privacy and independence children need in order to grow and develop healthy phone habits from a young age.