One of the easiest ways to detect low self-esteem in children is by observing their feelings. Negative feelings are often caused by blame games and criticism by parents and teachers, which results in self blame and self criticism by the child himself/herself in turn. Usually this leads to moodiness and grumpiness. Recurring negative feelings eventually leads to poor self-image in a child. Children or even us as parents may not believe that kids have control over their feelings, but they do. When a child experiences a challenging or upsetting situation, he/she has the power to choose how they feel about what has happened. This aids in self motivation and learning and gives them a sense of positivity. Although we cannot always control what happens to us, we can absolutely control how we respond to what happens, and this is a vital skill which we as parents can pass along to our kids and help them learn how to cope with a situation instead if self doubting .
“Even though _____ happened to you, mommy/daddy loves you because you are a good person.”
“Just because _____ happened, it doesn’t take away all of the things that makes you who you are.”
“How would you like to feel? What can we do to help you feel that way?”
“No matter what happens, you’re still our little boy/girl who is good, kind, confident, brave…”
“There is something we can all learn from every incident/situation, so that we don’t repeat our mistakes in future. Can tell us what did you learn from what happened?”
Such questions/ conversations/ statements can help shift a child’s negative feelings into a more positive one. Establishing our (parents’) confidence in our children helps them to realize and feel good no matter what the situation is. Asking a child to identify how he/she feels about a situation, what he/she would like to feel and what was the lesson learnt from it, helps them learn to face problems and solve them effectively. They learn to deal with adverse times/situations boldly and bravely with a positive attitude instead of pretending it didn’t happen or just sweeping it under a rug and repressing the memory.
Children are very impressionable. We as parents have to consciously assist our kids to learn the ropes of life early and show them the way to overcome difficult circumstances instead of shielding them or blaming them or even others for the repercussions. They will not only grow up to be confident, positive adults, but as a child they will be never face low self esteem or feel belittled.