They say charity begins at home, but so do a slew of other qualities: compassion, chivalry, and, most importantly, confidence. Between bullies and the overly critical media, kids seem to have lower self-esteem than ever before. And while we can’t control what happens in school or what’s written in magazines (though we wish we could), we do have control over one aspect of our children’s lives: their home. By making a few changes, you can create a safe space that boosts your children’s self-esteem and (hopefully) teaches them to help others who may be a bit down on themselves.
But not too much! While constant criticism makes your child doubt his abilities, an abundance of compliments can inflate his ego and cause him to put others down. Commend him for a job well done (or just because), and don’t be afraid to give constructive feedback when he needs it.
We know — it’s easier said than done. And it’s also not completely realistic. We all get down on ourselves at times, and it’s hard to keep these thoughts quiet, so start small by prohibiting words that your child says the most (like stupid, fat, or ugly). Sure, she may still hear these words in school or on the streets, but by banning them from the house, you create an environment that is safe when she feels down.
As the saying goes, you need to practice what you preach. If you call yourself stupid or shy away from challenges, then your child is likely to follow suit. Look at this as an opportunity not only to build your child’s confidence, but to boost your own as well.
We understand that every mom needs some alone time, but taking too much time for yourself can make your children feel like you don’t care about them at all. So turn off your phone and spend some time together. By engaging with them — be it through a trip to the park or talking at the dinner table — you make your children feel important, which in turn boosts their self-esteem.