I grew up with really poor self esteem. I know my parents loved me but I never got a lot of positive feedback from them. I felt ugly and stupid and sometimes still don’t feel good about myself. I don’t want this for my kids. What can I do that will help them feel good about themselves?
Kids often look to the adults in their life for affirmation. When they don’t get that from their parents or other significant people in their lives they may think that there is something wrong or lacking within themselves.
There is a difference in self esteem and self importance, however. If your kids hear how wonderful they are all of the time, the message is different than letting them know how proud you are when they have met their goals and worked hard for something. Don’t go overboard. Let them see that a certain amount of modesty is good.
You can give them the benefit of your experience and how you felt when your accomplishments were ignored. In past generations, it was considered unseemly to praise children as they could become conceited, so parents often didn’t let their children know how they felt.
Teach your children how to be self affirming. They can tell themselves that “I look good today” when they are all dressed up or they can say to themselves “I did really well on that test, I’m proud of myself.” They also need to hear from their Mom and you that they did a good job and that you are proud of them and that you love them.