Just so you’re AWARE…

Have you ever heard someone talk about their self-esteem and wondered about what the term really means? It is based on the confidence we have in our own worth and abilities. Sometimes people call it self-respect because it really is about how much we respect ourselves and the talents/abilities we have.

The development of self-esteem within young people can be a tricky thing. Children are growing up in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages about feeling good about what we wear, drive, eat, where we get our hair styled, or where we buy groceries. However, very few of these exposures deal with feeling good about who we are and what we are good at doing as we make our way through life.

Young people are in a unique place to be able to develop a healthy respect for who they are at a young age. Here are a few actions that we can work on to help our children grow in their self-esteem while they grow toward their dreams:

  • Allow children to help with projects at home. Encourage them to try new tasks and show them how to do them. Give them praise as they participate, and let them know not to be hard on themselves if they make a mistake. That is simply part of the learning process.
  • Encourage young people to try different things. They may find that they enjoy a different activity than their brother or sister, and that they are good at it. Learning that we all have different skill sets and abilities helps develop higher self-worth.
  • Tell children how much effort matters when you are working towards something. It is about giving their best effort, not a perfect effort. That old thing about being able to look in the mirror and knowing you gave your best really is true. When children begin seeing that giving their best effort brings positive results, it builds their self-esteem.
  • Work with children on having goals and developing the steps toward achieving them. As they accomplish steps along the way, they grow in confidence and in their understanding about the process of setting and reaching goals. Nobody learns the multiplication table in one lesson. We build on success and move up to the next level.
  • Encourage your children to exercise, and join along with them. We all feel better about ourselves when we exercise, and it helps grow a healthy relationship as a family.

Remember that children watch what adults around them do. So, work on expressing your own positive self-esteem and allowing them to grow in an environment where they get a chance to see their own self-worth. It will allow them to dream big dreams and have confidence in their abilities to achieve them.