It’s the start of a new school year, and your child’s self-esteem will make a big difference in how your child views life both in and out of school. I’m not talking about praising everything your child does and creating a “praise junkie.” You can do a lot toward helping your child truly develop high self-esteem. Here are my top 5 tips for raising kids with good self-esteem.
1. Give your child positive attention. Spend time with your child and help your child feel he or she belongs and is significant.
2. Use positive discipline methods, focusing on communication and logical consequences. I have a series of discipline articles at Living Montessori Now that focus on discipline methods that are effective and help your child feel respected and valued as a person.
3. Encourage your child, but don’t give excessive praise or emphasize the outcome. Especially encourage your child’s effort and persistence in a task. It’s important that your child feels encouraged to work hard on a task, gaining internal satisfaction (and positive character traits).
By giving excessive praise or emphasizing the product, your child is at risk of becoming a praise junkie who’s afraid to try something new. It really is all about the journey, not the outcome. Here are a few posts I’ve written that focus on developing self-esteem and positive character traits rather than focusing on the outcome:A Montessori Approach to Praise You Can Do It! Is Your Life Process Driven? What about Your Kids’ Character?
4. Be sure your child knows that your love isn’t dependent upon your child’s physical attractiveness. Girls especially need to know that they’re competent and special for who they are, not how they look. Healthy bodies can still be encouraged through an emphasis on healthy eating and a lifestyle that includes ways to be physically fit. You’ll find more about the importance of a healthy body image (and a petition you can sign to make a difference) here: Help Our Daughters Have Healthy Body Images.
5. Follow your child’s interests. This is an essential Montessori principle, and it’s one that works for children at any age. Following your child’s interests ensures that your child will feel respected and provides your child the greatest chance of self-motivation and success. If you have a young child, here’s a post with 10 Montessori principles that can give your child a great start toward competence and good self-esteem: Top 10 Montessori Principles for Natural Learning.
“We Are Each Gifted” Word Art Freebie (without watermark)
I’d love to hear what you find most effective in encouraging your child’s self-esteem.