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A child’s self esteem is affected by a number of factors – appreciating them will help parents avoid situations which may hurt a child’s esteem and find interesting and healthy ways to help build up his or her self-esteem. However, as every child is unique, parents have to be aware of the possible reactions of every action. Here are several pointers for parents to take note of:

  • Recognise that low self-esteem is something which will occur in your child at some point of time in his/her life due to school, home situations, or the surrounding environment.
  • Understand that your child will be negatively affected by harsh criticisms to their character or appearance.
  • Be wary of self-negating criticisms the child inflicts on himself or herself. These could be due to comparisons he/she makes between himself/herself and peers.
  • Set realistic expectations to avoid exerting unnecessary pressure on your child. When the targets are consistently missed, they could inflict a blow to their self-esteem.

Ways to Build Your Child’s Self-esteem

  • Involve your child in outdoor games. Physical exercises help relieve stress and improve their physical health.
  • Introduce your child to new skills and responsibilities, such as picking up a new language or sport. This helps to build their confidence when they learn things they have not experienced before. Choose activities which match your child’s interest and capabilities to enable them to expand on their skills.
  • Help your child set measurable and realistic goals which he/she can work towards. This enhances self-esteem and your child’s belief in his or her capabilities.
  • Encourage team work. Team work or team-based activities can improve your child’s team spirit, leadership skills and interaction with others – they will help your child react positively.
  • Be positive. It is essential to create a nurturing environment for your child to develop at his/her own pace. Positive support and encouragement will go a long way in building self-esteem.
Written by Julia Poh, Social Work Student Intern, MPFSC