As a parent watching my daughter grow up, it hasn’t always been easy to determine if I was nurturing her self-esteem enough or too much. It’s a balancing act if you are a parent to figure out the best ways to help your kids have high self-esteem.
“Much of a child’s identity is formed early based on their experiences and environment. Therefore, it is imperative for parents and other adults to understand how much of an impact their interactions, positive or negative, can have on a child’s psyche,” says Chicago-based psychologist and licensed therapist, Angela Ali, PhD. She adds, “With effective resources, parents can learn to apply discipline without undermining their identity.”
Babies quickly form memories and patterns in their mind based on their interactions with parents. According to Dr. Ali, “When parents nurture and encourage their children’s gifts early on, they have a much greater chance of developing confidence in their abilities and overall goals.”
Here are some ways to help put your child on the path to confident, well-adjusted adult:
1. Pay attention to your child’s interests and nurture them. Each child is unique. Help them find something they love. When your child uncovers their passion, it builds their self-esteem and pride which increases their self-confidence. These hobbies or interests can also help them connect with others if they may not fit in at school as they build confidence in their particular expertise. Dr. Ali advises parents to be wary of encouraging interests that are more aligned with what the parents desire.“It is not fair to live through your children, and the child will likely grow to resent this.”
2. Don’t compare your child to others. Children are sensitive. There is constant competition among children based on intelligence, looks, athleticism and popularity. It can be easy as a parent to fall into this comparison trap. “This can be especially true when it comes to parents or other adults making comparisons among siblings. This type of comparison can actually fuel sibling rivalry into adulthood,” shares Dr. Ali. The best thing you can do for your child is let them know that you value their talents and for who they are as individuals.