22/05/2017 Colegio Orvalle

Self- Esteem:Why is it such an important concept & how do we nurture it in our children?

Superhero kid. Girl power concept

The term “self-esteem” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary online is “a confidence and satisfaction in oneself” (Merriam-Webster,2017). Unless you have never heard of the term “self-esteem” before, you will know that a person can either have low or high self-esteem.

This concept is  important because it sets people up for success or failure in the daily situations that they find themselves in. When a person has low self-esteem, they tend to be very self-critical and doubt their ability to succeed (Kidshealth.org,2017).  This may cause them to completely avoid challenges, give up easily and/or be unable to bounce back from their mistakes (Kidshealth.org,2017). On the other hand, when a person has high self-esteem, (not to be confused with arrogance), they do not think negatively about themselves, and as a result, are confident in their ability to deal with whatever obstacles thrown their way. 

I don’t believe self-esteem or self confidence is something that a person is a born with. I believe it is something that is learned and that the learning process starts within the family unit. This is great news for all of us who struggle/ might have struggled with low self-esteem issues and who wish to help those young people around us develop healthy self-esteem.

According to the website, ‘Kidshealth.org’ there are seven ways that parents can help nurture their child’s self-esteem. They are as follows:

1. Help your child learn to do things.

2.When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first.

3.Praise your kids.

4.Praise effort rather than fixed qualities.

5.Be a good role model.

6.Ban harsh criticism.

7.Focus on strengths.

I could go into each of these in detail, but I am afraid that if I do I would be plagiarizing.

In summary, if we as parents, educators and or coaches etc… try and encourage the young people we have around us to not be afraid to learn new things by showing them how to do it and then regardless of whether they do it properly or not, praise their effort then this will lead to healthy self-esteem.

If we praise them in the right measure, they will feel confident enough to try again and then maybe get it the second time around if they didn’t get there the first time.

As kids are by their nature very impressionable, it is crucial that we be good role models for them and that we focus on their strengths and ban harsh criticism. If we do this, we will help them feel capable, effective and accepted.

What could be better than that?.

Tina Newsome-McDonnell,
Drama Teacher Colegio Orvalle

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