Healthcare providers know that there are many reasons why we suffer from low self-esteem ranging from chemical imbalance to lack of faith in ourselves, past failures, dysfunctional relationships, lack of opportunities, discipline and more. Most professionals agree, however, that the number one cause of low self-esteem is due to lack of positive feedback and love given to children during their early years. Thus, it is incredibly important for all parents to be aware of building self-esteem in children – especially because we often do not even realize what can aid in building self-esteem and what we do that inadvertently contributes to low self-esteem.
What happens all too frequently is that children are born before their parents have matured enough to focus more clearly on their own adulthood, family and family values, in the ongoing race to succeed and find happiness. Both parents typically work long hours, still trying to learn good work and life ethics and morals while being out from under parental influence, plus learning about family life together and making sense of their own past, pitfalls, challenges and self development as a whole. It’s a lot all at once for our young parents.
One inadvertent way that many parents contribute to low self-esteem is that they simply do not let their children try and try again and make their own mistakes. When we see our kids struggling, no matter how simple the task, we often rush in to help. We think this is good for us to do, but what we do not realize is that the sense of accomplishment that a child feels when they figure something out on their own – that feeling contributes immensely to their self-esteem, and most especially when it was difficult to figure out and when effort was required. Likewise, many parents do not offer sincere praise and compliments to their children, instead taking them and their efforts for granted in all too often a difficult, tough world today full of challenges.
Another critical factor is that children most often truly believe in their hearts that all adults are right, and set their own values and feedback systems by them. However, unfortunately too many of these adults raising young children are still battling their own issues with self-esteem and other important factors in self-development.
In short, children and adults of all ages grow internally from figuring out their problems and especially with positive feedback and encouragement from other people demonstrating their sincere care and concern. When our children fail at something, offer hope and encouragement to try and try again….and then, unless they seek your help, let them do it on their own without stepping in and doing the task for them – no matter how simple!
Also important and well-documented is the basic human need for education. Encourage education for your children, regardless of the level you have. Too many adults often ‘say’ they want their children to succeed, yet negate comments all through childhood in areas of advancing education. This does not necessarily have to be in the form of schooling, but in reading (offer plenty of reading materials around the home and show by example and read yourself), encourage workshops, online classes, ebooks, cultural events, educational programs, extracurricular activities and more. Activities like chess, scrabble, and crosswords are great as are encouraging hobbies, such as music and service to others such as volunteer work or a part time job.