Building Self-Esteem in Children: Parent as a Mirror

Written by on April 9, 2019

Parents are the first and most important influencers in their children’s lives. Every day, parents are given many opportunities to instill values and help their children become thriving, happy people.
Children’s self-esteem is affected by many factors but the most important factor is the most significant people in the child’s life who are parents. This means that the most important task of parenthood is parent helping their children to develop strong positive self-esteem.

If a parent is caring, focus on the child’s strength and avoids excessive criticism, the child will bear a positive self-image

A parent is the most influential person when it comes to how a child feels about him/herself. A parent is a mirror of who the child is.
In general, I would say that the more positive the parents’ self-esteem is, the more positive the children self-esteem will be. This is so because children usually watch and copy how their parents react to their successes, failures, and mishaps.
James Arthur Baldwin once said “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them”. It is important for parents to build positive responses and strategies for dealing with life experiences. Parents must be a good role model to children. In short what I am saying is that start by building your own self-esteem and it will reflect in the life of your children.
Let me first talk about self-esteem. Your self-image is the way in which you perceive yourself. In other words, it is your own thoughts and feeling about yourself and your abilities to achieve things that are important to you. When you have a positive self-image, often you possess feelings of high self-esteem, popularity, happiness and competency. These feelings can often motivate you to seek success in other parts of your life.
Having, or developing, a positive self-image can help you face, and tackle, the challenging parts of life, such as poor health, financial problems or even physical disability. The need to have a positive self-image is nonnegotiable, in anyone’s life.
Self esteem comes from building a realistic view of yourself, and hence, liking the person who you really are. Your view of yourself has to be realistic, because too high expectations from yourself may get you into disappointments and thus losing your self esteem. Too low self esteem can result from life disappointments, either early ones like unsupportable parents, or late ones like losing a job, or can result from some psychiatric disorders like depression.
From my own point of view, in order to gain a positive self esteem, start by being honest with yourself: know what you are capable of and work on them to make them even better, and know your flaws and accept them, and try to improve on them.
Also, surround yourself with people who love you and value you. Don`t blame yourself for everything, and be kind to yourself.
In your child’s life self-esteem is shaped not only by a child’s own perceptions, but also by the perceptions of significant people in her life. For example how she is thought of and treated by her parents.
Further it is shaped also by how these significant people (parents) in her life see and think of themselves. If a parent is affectionate and loving but thinks low of himself, the child certainly will have low self-esteem. If a parent is abusive, the child will feel he’s not good enough that’s why he’s being treated that way, that will lead him to create a bad self-image in his mind and will cause him problems later in life. But if a parent is caring, focus on the child’s strength and avoids excessive criticism, the child will bear a positive self-image.
Be a role model for your child, have a strong self-esteem yourself, set goals for child and if your child fails, encourage your child by telling him his strengths, pointing out his weakness and helping him overcome it. Compliment your child, but do not exaggerate. Do not compare him to other children.
Make him realize he should be an independent, confident and a unique person. A positive self-image is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. Children with positive self-esteem feel loved and competent and develop into happy, thriving and productive people.

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