Although there are people who seem to be blessed with an abundance of self-esteem, they don’t have that level of self-esteem right from the start. Unlike other human traits that are already there the moment we are born, there are some that one needs to develop over time. Self-esteem is one of those traits.
Self-esteem is that part of oneself that allows people to function with confidence. It refers to a person’s ability to trust in themselves and to accept who they are flaws and all. Self-esteem is actually fostered from childhood. A big role is played by the parents in making sure that their children develop their self-esteem fully. The way they give attention to their kids and the way they praise them (or criticize them!) will factor greatly in the way they develop their children’s self-esteem.
Adolescent years are also challenges that parents must overcome when it comes to parenting. Unlike childhood when things will basically come from the parents in terms of nurturance and attention, adolescence has more components. This is because kids at this period of time are already studying in schools and are already interacting with their classmates. The role of the peer group in this period is very crucial in the development of their self-esteem.
Being with their peer group everyday for most part of the day, it is but natural that they seek attention and approval from them. The response of their peer group will then determine how their self-esteem will develop.
Positive responses and praises may increase their already existing self-esteem while criticisms and the rejections of their peers can lead to depression and low self-esteem.
Of course, this battle of self-esteem is not entirely up to their peers. Parents also have a say on this issue. By guiding your teenagers, you can help them cope with self-esteem problems. Here are some of the ways.
1. Praise them when they did something good.
No matter how small it is, make it a habit to acknowledge their work, even their efforts. That way, they will feel that they are doing something good. But be careful in praising them even when they do not really deserve the praise. This can backfire. They will either become too pompous with their skills and think that they are better than they really are; or scoff at your praises as unwarranted. Believe it or not some kids know if the deserve the praise or not.
2. Start Early
Building a healthy self-esteem when they are still children will go a long long way when they become adolescents. People who are naturally confident and those with high self-esteem do well in school and in social activities. This will translate to acceptance in school and among the inner peer group.
Fostering early self-esteem in childhood will actually bring about a positive cycle when they reach teen years. In addition, children who have high self-esteem are also better able to cope with changes and are also better in adapting to their environment.
3. Give them liberty
One of the reasons why some teenagers do not develop self-esteem is the fact that they are not allowed to trust in their own judgment and make their own decisions, within reason of course. This is not saying that they should have completely free rein and do whatever they want or that we should allow them to do something that will harm themselves or others. However, keep in mind that most of the people that have low self-esteem are those who are not given free rein with their decisions in life and those who have very protective parents. As children build on success they will natually become more self-confident. Sure they will make mistakes, but hopefully they will be stronger for them as they learn from their mistakes.
As parents we need to be their to support and encourage them, not hinder them. Sometimes parents may do this subconsiously without even thinking about it. It may be hard seeing our little ones grow up, but as teenagers they will be out on thier own soon, so as parents we need to do our best to give them the tools and support to succeed.