How To Build/Develop Self-Esteem In Your Children
By Ebere Obed & Aj Okeke
The mindset and psychology of a child is dependent on its parent’s understanding of the term: self-esteem. In other words, if the parent lacks self-esteem in him or herself, it will definitely rob-off on the child. Therefore, for a child to develop this sense of self-esteem, that child would have to imbibe self-esteem from the parents. Self-esteem as a sense in a child who learns by imitating his parents especially, and other adults or older ones around him will continue to build and develop his sense of self-worth or esteem by being very observing of happenings around him. That is why toddlers especially tend to be so observant by staring at everything and everybody’s actions around them and try to replicate these actions whenever these actions have been assimilated.
For a child to build perfect self-esteem, this child would have to look up to his or her parent(s) and learn from them. Emphasis is more on parents here because this learning process starts while the child is suckling. Using a child that has developed his milk teeth as a reference point, the onus falls on the mother (parent) to frown at his action of biting her nipple while the baby is being breast-fed to teach this child to learn that biting the nipple is not the best way to feed-off the mother’s mammary glands. When this teaching is taught with a frown, the child has observed that inflicting pain on her mother does not make the mother happy, therefore, this child must have started to understand that his mother feels pained whenever he bites her nipples and therefore lacks what she looks forward to learn from the mother which is self-esteem. An angry person has lost half of his or her sense of self-worth. This child must have learnt that anger on her mother’s face is not part of what builds her sense of self-esteem and would desist from messing with the mother’s nipples.
Self esteem can be defined as good opinion of oneself or feeling capable according to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. This self-esteem is important in the life of every child as it is like the child’s armor that guards him/her against the challenges of the world in their staggered onslaughts.
A child will develop self-esteem when his/her parents and older siblings encourage him/her to become a better child. For example, if a child is learning how to talk, the onus has automatically fallen on the parents and older siblings to encourage the child to learn more words by speaking English language or vernacular words to the hearing of the child, while using symbols or demonstrative gestures. The child tends to develop self-esteem more from infancy and continues to build on it until adulthood.
A child can develop self-esteem by associating with his peers. Parents are advised to allow their children to mix and associate with their peer mates so that they will learn more from them as it is not everything about life that a child is expected to learn at home. The peer mates can be slightly older or younger than your child because it is not only the parents of a child that train their child on self-esteem.
The environment in which the child is being raised is very important in building your child’s sense of self-worth (self-esteem). For instance, a child raised in a neighbourhood like Victoria Island fares relatively better than a child raised in Ajegunle when self-esteem is the yardstick. Definitely, a child raised in Ajegunle have the tendency to have more street-savvy than the child raised in Victoria Island but when it comes to self-esteem, the child raised on Victoria Island grows to have more self-confidence. This is what makes life unique.
The disadvantages of lack of self-esteem in children start with exposing them to lacking solutions to tackle their problems when faced with such challenges. The tendency to become more passive and depressed will arise in them because they lack self confidence and this can result to a low sense of tolerance for frustrations in life. It makes them give up easily or wait on someone else to take over their challenges for them. Children with low self-esteem see temporary setbacks as permanent. Intolerable conditions and a sense of pessimism prevail in them. They may not like to try new things and may speak negatively about themselves. When a child is happy but does not feel loved, he or she will equally experience low esteem of self.
Whereas, children with high self-esteem associate well with others and excel in group activities. They equally have this mind for independent pursuits in life which shows they are fully developed.
Choose you this day the place for your child!