Are you Tearing Down or Building up Your Child’s Self-Esteem?

"Children Who Believe In Themselves Expect Success From Life" - Sal Savere

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Picture taken by Sharon McCutcheon

Here is an example of a conversation that a child may have who has poor self-esteem:

“I am not a very good looking kid, I have poor grades, I don’t like to try new things because I am afraid I’ll mess up. People don’t normally listen to me because they know I don’t have anything important to say. I guess you can say I am not real confident.”

Self-Esteem doesn’t come naturally. It is something that is developed. Having a healthy self-esteem takes work. The basic definition for self-esteem is ” your attitude or belief about yourself”. Children with healthy self-esteem respect themselves, control their behavior, are confident, love themselves. and are confident in their decision making. 

“Children who believe in themselves expect success from life.” – Sal Severe

Children who have poor self-esteem see the world as a place of fear. They don’t see themselves as worthy and they expect failure because they see themselves as failures. They don’t like to try new things, stop putting forth effort, and simply avoid participating in things they believe they will fail at. 

Your goal as a parent and mentor should be to help your children strive for healthier self-esteem. By promoting healthy self-esteem and giving your children support,  encouragement, and love, you will develop a healthy bond with one another. 

If a child has fallen off of their bike and they hear words coming from their parents such as “You are still doing it wrong.  I have shown you how to ride your bike multiple times, can’t you get it already?” tears down their self-esteem. Your child now believes that they can’t do anything such as riding a bike. Therefore, they stop trying. 

A positive comment that a parent should use instead would be ” Good try! You are doing better each time. I know that you can get it this time.” This way you are showing the child that you believe in their abilities and it persuades your child to believe in themselves. 

Teenagers care about what other teenagers think about them. This is natural. Adolescents who have good self-esteem also have a strong sense of self-worth. Which makes it easier for them to resist peer pressure. Since it’s our job to be parents, it is important to help our children develop healthy and strong self-esteem. Here is how we can do that. 

How to Develop Healthy Self-Esteem in Your Children

You can show your children that they are an important person by treating them with respect. If your child accidentally knocked their plate off the table how would you react? Accidents happen all the time. Love and accept your children the way they are. That doesn’t mean you need to love their misbehavior. You should love them, regardless of their misbehaviors. 


Let your children know that in order to have success they need to put in the effort. Persistence pays off. If a child is struggling with math, a great way to build their self-esteem would be to say, “getting an A in math will not be easy. You will have to study hard. But I know you can do it!” 


 Encouragement will help your children have more confidence when faced with different situations. Encourage your children and they will see that you have confidence, trust, and faith in them. 

Accepting Their Weaknesses and Strengths 

Teach your children to accept both their weaknesses and strengths. Children who have poor self-esteem only focus on their weaknesses and dwell on their shortcomings. This overlooks their positive qualities. Explain that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, which is a normal part of life. 

Use yourself as an example of accepting your weaknesses and strengths. 

Overcome Disappointment 

Disappointments are a part of life. We all have them and we will all be disappointed at some point in our life. Sharing an experience when you have felt disappointed can help your children know that disappointment is normal. Teaching them to overcome disappointment will be more beneficial to children in the long run. 

Teach Your Children to Appreciate the Reasons for Life. 

It’s important to teach children to look for reasons why they should appreciate life, especially during hard times. When things go wrong, show them positive alternatives that will turn hard situations into positive ones. That way, tragedy and failure will not be the end result. There is so much to live for. By helping your children develop healthy self-esteem, you can help them to enjoy the ups and downs of life.

As a parent, you must take an active role to help build your children’s self-esteem by giving support and encouragement. Give your children positive feedback as much as possible. Let your children know that they have the power in them to succeed. Teach them to have confidence in their abilities and to keep on trying. 

By believing in your children, they will learn to believe in themselves. This is one of the best motivations a parent can give to their children. 

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