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How to Optimize Your Child’s Self Esteem

Self-esteem is the price we place on ourselves. Self-esteem is rooted on two major things : “self-efficacy” and “self-confidence”. Self-efficacy is the ability to produce a desired or intended result while Self-confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. It’s broadly said that self-esteem could either be high or low and for the sake of this article, we will be dwelling more on low self-esteem.

Being in a Low state of self-esteem is not permanent and it mostly emerges from childhood.
Having low self-esteem is not just a global sense of being worthless; it manifests itself in action—or in inaction—whenever the child (the grown child)—attempts to do anything. [Neuman, M.D., Fredric. “Low Self-esteem.” Psychology Today. Accessed March 3, 2014.]
It is interesting to note that 75% of girls with low self-esteem are reported to be engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, and
smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem as seen in PR Newswire Association LLC and Quenqua.
Here are some signs of low self-esteem in a child:
 Lack of confidence,
 Social withdrawal,
 Always seeking approval hence making bad choices,
 Pleases others at the detriment of self,
 Finds it difficult to understand and express his/her needs,
 Finds it hard to think through processes and take decisions,
 Hurts other people because they are hurting too
 Tries to pull others down in order to rise up
 Always feeling helpless and hopeless
 Blames others for his/her own wrongs
 Always saying/feeling someone else is better or ‘finer’
As a parent, the role of building healthy self-esteem in children can’t be over-emphasized and with the following nuggets, you can optimize your child’s self-esteem.

  1. Be true to yourself and cultivate a healthy self-esteem: our children don’t listen to us, they model after us. If you don’t have healthy self-esteem, your children will mirror it and exhibit same.
  2. Don’t compare your children to others: comparing your children with others or even themselves makes them feel low, every child is beautiful and unique in his own way.
  3. Don’t show favouritism to any child: this doesn’t only make a child feel low, it also causes sibling rivalry; another crucial topic for another day.
  4. Affirm your love to your child often: words of affirmation and show of affection is a bestseller drug to self-worth anytime, any day.
  5. Discipline your child’s behaviour not their personality: a child’s personality is different from their behaviour e.g. when scolding a child, words like “you have told a lie and you will be punished for it” is better than “you are a lair and I will kill you before you disgrace me”
  6. Seek a professional if your child exhibits 5 or more of the symptoms listed above.
    Thank you very much for taking your time to read.
    Written by Olayinka Akanni (The self-esteem Optimizer)

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