Self-esteem is an integral part of our personality and is connected to our happiness quotient. A person with high self-esteem is always happy, whereas a person with low self-esteem cannot hope to be happy even when the sun and the moon are smiling down at them.
More importantly, it forms the basis of our self-confidence. To be self-confident, you need to have a self-esteem first, which is why one of the best gifts we can give our children is that of a positive self-image and healthy self-esteem.
Here are a few tips on how you can build your child’s self-esteem:
- Correct them, but do not criticize:
More often than not we confuse correction with criticism. We feel it’s the same. But in fact, it is not. Do not harp on the mistakes of your children or keep telling them where went wrong. Instead, show them the correct way of doing it.
- Do not try to make everything easy for them:
This is hard, not for them but us. As parents, we want to do everything for them and make provision for them in every possible way. But hang on a sec, this could come in the way of building your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. If your child is not able to open a box of chocolates himself, let him try it again. And then again. And then again. If he is doing it all wrong, like turning the lid the wrong way, ask him to turn it the other way and see if it opens. But do not open the box yourselves. Problem-solving boosts self-confidence and self-esteem in a way like nothing else can. It makes them independent and teaches them to make their way through the world.
- Give them tasks to do:
Get them involved in the household chores and give them targets to complete. Each accomplishment is a step towards higher self-esteem. Bigger the work, higher the sense of achievement and greater the self-esteem.
- Do not compare your children with others:
Comparing your child with others is undermining their abilities and talents. Your child is not made to be someone else. He is made to be him. And that should be enough for you. It is not a question of being better than others. It is a question of doing to the fullest of one’s abilities. If he is doing his best, he is doing it enough.
- Do not be over-protective:
You are not going to be around for your children until the end of the world. Some day they will have to go out on their own and find their way through the world. Teach them to fend for themselves and tackle sticky situations in their ways. This experience would make them stronger and will prepare them to face the challenges of the world.
- Give them room for mistakes:
Tell them they don’t have to be perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Let them try out things their way and learn from their mistakes. This process helps them to understand exactly where they went wrong and came up with better ways to do it. Remember, our last mistake is our best teacher.
- Teach them to own up for themselves:
If a pencil or a sock goes missing, tell them to find it themselves. Better still, ask them to take care of their belongings. This lesson makes them more responsible and thereby boost their self-esteem.
- If they fall, teach them to get up – literally and figuratively:
Do not stop them from doing something because there is a risk of falling. Okay, so while playing they fall and bruise their knee. What do you do? Tell them it’s okay. Ask them to get up, apply first-aid and then tell them to get going. This experience teaches them that every time they fall, they will surely get up.
- If they fail, tell them it’s ok to fail:
Ask them to try again, and assure them that giving up is not an option. Failures are the stepping stone to success. It humbles us and teaches us to stay grounded. No man has ever succeeded without once failing in life. Your children have all it takes to make it through the world. Tell them that. They need to hear that from you.
- Congratulate them when they do well:
Appreciate them, but don’t overdo it. Praising every small achievement of theirs lowers the bar for them. They will not feel motivated to do more because they feel doing little is enough. But acknowledge it when they have done something wonderful.
- Give them choices, let them decide:
Do not make all the decisions for them. But a parent must know the difference between giving freedom for making independent decisions and spoiling your child by allowing him to have his way. Ask them if they want to have an apple pie or an orange one, or want to wear a cardigan or a sweater. But, asking your children if they want to do their homework is not a task where you give them a choice.
- Above all, have a high self-esteem yourselves:
Children listen to you when you are not speaking, and they learn from you when you are not teaching. Give them a living, breathing example of positivity and self-esteem, so they have your influence for guidance.
At Shift 2 Happiness Charity, we emphasize on these values and treat all our children at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, with the respect and dignity they deserve. Our goal is not only to help these kids receive a quality education but also to make them a better person and contribute to building a better society.