Newborns can detect the state of the environment they live in. When a baby is born, there is so much attention and affection. The mother cuddles the baby, makes him comfortable, family members spends long hours carrying and saying positive compliments about the baby. Even innocent cries are sensitively responded to with either feeds, change of nappies etc. The baby eventually starts to recognize acceptance, love, warmness, happiness within the family. This gives the baby confidence and it creates a positive effect on his/her self-esteem. The baby starts identifying with the positive energy around him or her which helps to develop a self -worth identity.
Like babies, toddlers and preschoolers continue to expect attention and love as they grow. This helps them to develop a positive self- image, learn to be confident, assertive and comfortable with themselves. It is important to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses at an early age. Parents should highlight strengths to affirm and praise their children; but also, help them to address weaknesses in a positive enabling manner.
Build a healthy child’s self-esteem to deal with weaknesses
Often, parents fail to notice what children excel at but mainly focus on wrong/negative things or respond only when a child behavior is unacceptable. When a child does something good, s/he should be made aware of it so that this behavior is reinforced.
Parents sometimes fail to support their children to overcome some challenges or bad habits. For example, if a five-year-old child has a bed-wetting problem and his parent doesn’t know how to assist the child, this problem can be prolonged for years. If a parent always blames and humiliates the child for bed wetting, the child will always be nervous and may fail to control her/ himself. On the other hand, if the parent potty-trains and encourages the child to use the bathroom before going to bed, wakes him up at the night and re-assures the child that s/he can eventually stop bedding wetting, the child will feel supported and he will register in his mind that indeed this is a temporary problem which can be solved. The child will consciously attempt to avoid bed wetting.
The child learns to look in the mirror and like the person he sees. S/he starts feeling comfortable with the person s/he sees. The child learns to believe in him/herself and to think of the “self” as being someone who can change any situation and who is worthy of love; who can do right things, who can bring positive energy in the environment around him or herself. Parents are the main source of a child’s sense of self-worth, hence need to support children on this journey to create a self-worth identity.
The best child care : Raising a confident child with a healthy self-esteem
Raising a confident child depends on an enabling positive environment in which s/he is lives. Some parents may have had bad experiences during their childhood which may influence the way they raise their own children. This may not be done deliberately but parents may lack a conscious effort to enable positive relationship with their own children; as they themselves are not completely healed from traumatic experiences in the past or simply do not know what to do.
Affirmation, praises, and encouragement to take up challenges enhances positive behavior. Please note, praising a child is not counter- productive as may be perceived by some parents. Everyone needs to be acknowledged when they try or achieve something good. Children eventually learn that positive behavior attracts positive relationships with parents and everyone around them. This boosts their self- esteem. To see related study findings click here
The link between a child’s healthy self-esteem and outcomes of life
Most behavioral problems result from poor self-worth in parents as well as children. This has an impact on someone later in life. Confident people with a healthy self-esteem and positive energy tend to attract masses while those with poor self- worth are perceived as those with very little to offer. People who value themselves get along with others; perform well at school; are high achievers at work and tend to relate well in relationships and marriage. Such attributes stem from the strength of their self-image which is imparted from the early age in childhood. Parents are therefore encouraged to invest time in building a healthy self-esteem of their children to promote better outcomes in life.
By Dr. Christine