How we can strengthen children's self-esteem?
- Why is self-esteem important?
Self-esteem is the confidence in oneâ€™s own worth and abilities, having self-respect and faith in oneâ€™s self. It is how we feel about ourselves and our behaviour clearly reflects those feelings.
When we understand and accept our self as we are, it helps us understand and accept others. The way people who are important to children, treat them and what they say will raise or lower the children's self-esteem. How we feel about ourselves affects the way we act and how children feel about themselves affects the way they act. Moreover, how children and we feel and think about ourselves can change with time.
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The child is taken to be a slow learner, difficult and uncooperative. This not only affects the childâ€™s performance in school but also turns him/her away from going to school and affects the interactions at home. The experiences children go through plays a vital role in determining whether a child develops a high or low self-esteem. People who are important to children have a great affect on the development of the childâ€™s self-esteem.
- Characteristics of children with high and low self esteem.
Children with healthy self-esteem tend to enjoy interacting with others. They are comfortable in social settings and enjoy group activities as well as independent pursuits. When challenges arise, they can work towards finding solutions and voice discontent without belittling themselves or others. For example, rather than saying to her/himself, "I can never ever do this. Iâ€™m dumb." a child with healthy self-esteem says, "I don't understand this." They know their strengths and weaknesses, and accept them. They take pride in their accomplishments and like to be creative and have their own set of ideas. They show more tolerance to frustration and are able to handle positive and negative emotions appropriately. A sense of optimism prevails.
On the other hand, children with low self-esteem may not want to try new things, and may frequently speak negatively about themselves: "I'm stupid,â€ or "What's the point? Nobody cares about me anyway." They may feel unwanted or unloved and blame others for their own shortcomings. They may exhibit a low tolerance for frustration, giving up easily or waiting for somebody else to take over. They have a tendency to feel, or pretend to feel emotionally indifferent and tend to be overly critical of and easily disappointed in themselves. They doubt their abilities or are often heard saying things like, â€œI know I canâ€™t do it.â€, â€œI know that I will fail,â€ or even extremities like, â€œIâ€™m a loser.â€ Children with low self-esteem see temporary setbacks as permanent, intolerable conditions, and a sense of pessimism dominates.
- How can we help children develop a healthy sense of self?
The development of a healthy self-esteem is extremely important to the happiness and success of children and adults both. The foundations of self-esteem are laid early in life when infants develop attachments with the adults and care givers who are responsible for them. When adults readily respond to their cries and smiles, babies learn to feel loved and valued. Children learn about love and acceptance by being loved and accepted by the people they look up to. As young children learn to trust their parents and others who care for them to satisfy their basic needs, they gradually feel wanted, valued and loved.
As they grow older, self-esteem is associated to children's feelings of belonging to a group and being able to adequately function in their group. When toddlers start going to school they are expected to control...