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10 Tips for Raising a Child with High Self-Esteem

10 Tips for Raising a Child with High Self-Esteem

Every parent dreams of raising a child who is confident but not cocky, who is self-assured but sensitive, and who feels empowered to make choices and follow their passions. Even if, as parents, we suffer with low self-esteem ourselves, there is much we can do to enable our children to learn to love themselves and to be an active participant, rather than an observer, in their own lives.

1. Start with you

Our children learn far more from what we do rather than the lessons we try to teach them. In the way we conduct ourselves each day, we teach our children how to be. We act as role models and inspire our children. So if we model high self-esteem, our children are more likely to develop high self-esteem too. For those of us with low self-esteem this can make us worry that we’re doomed to pass on feelings of self-doubt and negativity to our children, but that needn’t be the case. Whilst we can’t fundamentally change our personalities overnight, we can think carefully about the way in which we portray ourselves each day. We can think about what we choose to say aloud. We can make a conscious effort to present the best version of ourselves.

When we’re struggling with issues of self-negativity, a good way to redress the balance is to try and see yourself through your child’s eyes. When they are young, kids tend to adore their parents unconditionally. Don’t question it, embrace it, and try to channel the parent your adoring child sees whenever self-doubt creeps in.

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2. Tackle negative self-talk

When we talk badly about ourselves, it reinforces low self-esteem. Again, we should start with ourselves here and make a conscious effort not to talk badly of ourselves. It’s remarkable how often self-critical phrases creep in when you listen out for them. Additionally, any time we hear our child talk negatively about themselves, we should question it. Ideally we should not just dismiss their concerns, but rather provide evidence to the contrary, or balance negative self-talk with meaningful compliments.

3. Give feelings names

When we struggle with difficult thoughts and feelings, it can really pull down the way we feel about ourselves and our place in the world around us. When we give these feelings names and are able to explore them, it can help us to understand and manage them, reducing their impact on how we feel about ourselves. Help your child to understand the different ways they feel, both physically and emotionally, so that your family has a shared language for both positive and negative experiences, which will enable open sharing and support.

4. Listen

As well as helping your child to name their feelings, you need to give them an opportunity to talk about them. This can work best if we get into a habit of listening early on. If we build listening into our daily routine, our child gets used to being heard and will more readily share with us at specific points each day. This will enable us to understand what’s going on in our child’s life as well as tackle difficulties and misconceptions early on before negative thoughts and feelings become entrenched and embedded.

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5. Be a stable base

Whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, they need a stable base from which to explore the world. They need to understand the rules you set and be able to predict likely outcomes from their actions. They need to be able to rely on you to look out for them and to support them. Once they know that they can rely on you, they’ll be ready to walk away and become more independent and self-assured.

6. Let your child spread their wings

Watching our children grow more independent is one of the most nerve-wracking things we ever go through as parents. However, if we want our children to develop self-confidence and assurance, we need to have the confidence to let them go. We can’t live their lives for them, we need to provide them with the tools and encouragement they need to go out and take risks, make mistakes, and reap the rewards of starting to find their own place in the world.

7. Celebrate uniqueness and diversity

Show tolerance of others in all that you say, and celebrate what makes each member of your family unique. Never expect children to live up to expectations set by siblings, nor to fulfill your own childhood dreams. Instead, help them to develop their own skills and talents and enjoy these individual differences.

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8. Empower decisions that have impact

Let your child see that they make a difference in your family. Talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Invite their opinions on decisions both big and small, like what should we eat for dinner? Where should we go on holiday? Also, be prepared to listen to and act on their answers. This way your child learns that their view is valued and that they can be an active participant in family life.

9. Be honest about your mistakes

There are few mistakes we cannot learn from. You teach your child a far more valuable lesson when you hold your hands up and say you got something wrong. They can look for the learning there, better than when you try to portray an image of perfection each day.

10. Don’t forget to say “I love you”

Finally, we need to remember to show and tell our kids that we care about them. As parents, the love we feel can overwhelm us. It might seem impossible that our children could fail to know that they are loved; however, you should never assume your child knows how much you love them. Instead make an effort to show  it and say it out loud. We all know how good it feels to be loved. This is no different for a child. Actually, it can be an important bedrock of self-esteem, as well as making family life just that little bit more pleasurable each and every day.

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Featured photo credit: Let’s do – Latteda via albumarium.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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