Self-esteem is vital for your child’s success in life. Below is an excellent article that will provide seven tips that can help you nurture your child.
Self-esteem is how much kids value themselves and how important they believe they are in their world. Developing positive self-esteem is important for all kids. But it can be harder for kids with learning and thinking differences. That’s because self-esteem is tied to how capable kids feel. Kids with learning and thinking differences often have to work harder to make progress in school. They may struggle socially, too.
Talk to your child — not just about things your child finds difficult, but also about things you find challenging and have to work to overcome. It’s good for your child to hear you talk about how you value your own strengths while also acknowledging your weaknesses.
It can be hard to talk to kids about the things they need to get better at. But addressing those topics clearly can actually help your child develop self-esteem. The key is to talk about challenges in a way that motivates kids to improve without making them feel bad about themselves.
Help your child reframe negative thoughts and statements. Kids with a growth mindset believe their abilities can improve over time. (As opposed to kids with a fixed mindset, who think their abilities are set and can’t change, no matter how hard they try.)
Part of having a growth mindset is acknowledging that mistakes are learning opportunities. When your child knows that it’s OK to fail and there are solutions to mistakes, it can help build self-esteem. Help your child find the “next time you can” in mistakes. For example, you could say, “Yep, you spilled the juice. Next time you’re pouring the juice, you can hold your glass over the sink.”
It’s important to praise your child. But how you praise your child matters, too. Rather than just focusing on the end result, praise how your child went about it. By acknowledging the approach kids take to tackling challenges, you help them learn that they’re capable of overcoming obstacles. Specific, honest praise is key to building positive self-esteem.
Finding an extracurricular activity, they enjoy and are good at can help kids discover their strengths and keep academic struggles in perspective. If your child has a nice voice and likes to sing, find a choir to join. Or if your child is interested in sports, talk about signing up for a local soccer or softball league.
If there’s no activity that immediately appeals to your child, consider seeking out a mentor for your child. Connecting with someone who’s a little further along in the journey can inspire and build confidence in your child.
Knowing there are successful people, including athletes, celebrities, and entrepreneurs with learning and thinking differences who faced similar struggles can also be a source of inspiration. For example, actor Daniel Radcliffe has said that doing stunt work for the Harry Potter movies helped him overcome some of his struggles.
Helping your child develop positive self-esteem is possible. For more ideas, read about ways to be a supportive, realistic parent while avoiding being overprotective of your child. Teach your child the power of resilience and of staying motivated. Over time, kids can learn to improve how they view and value themselves.
By Amanda Morin