Encourage High Self Esteem: Protect Your Child from the Inside Out

There are so many things parents have to worry about regarding their children. They have to protect, instruct and guide them through a dangerous and chaotic world. Rather than stewing over every possible danger, issuing rules and sharing your fear, consider directing your energy on building a child's self-esteem. Parents have a great influence in this area. Your child's conduct, happiness and achievement all stem from how they see themselves.

Encourage your child to believe they can handle whatever adversity is set in their way and they will be miles ahead of their peers. Build their self-esteem by keeping in mind the following guidelines;

1. Work on Yourself. Model high esteem. Give your child a good example of how someone who believes in themselves will behave. Kids can smell a fake a mile away, and will not be fooled if you say all the right things but don't believe a word of it about yourself. Just like in an emergency where you put the oxygen mask on yourself first before your child; building yourself up gives you something to share.

2. Look on the Sunny Side. Pointing out mistakes can become a bad habit. Parents who consistently "encourage" improvement miss the point. Kids can become discouraged which can cause them to give up. Celebrate little successes, but don't overdo it.

3. Encourage Baby Steps. Specifically praise good behavior. Rather than uttering a distracted, "Good Job" mention something you see. "You picked up all your toys" or "You studied hard and got a B+, wow" Say "Thank you", when appropriate.

4. Give Choices. Let your child make decisions. Encourage self-expression from a young age. Let them realize they not only have choices, they also have preferences. If you are constantly telling them exactly what to do, wear and think, they may come to the conclusion they only want the opposite.

5. Name their feelings. Help your child pinpoint what they are feeling; are they angry, frustrated, misunderstood...giving a name to their emotions takes some of the power away from negative emotions. Introspective children will especially appreciate the validation.

6. Viva la Difference. Study your child. Their personality may be completely alien to you. Take the time to try to understand them. Even though you may not share the same temperament, that doesn't make theirs bad, or wrong. A sensitive child placed with loud and abrasive household does not just happen with adoption cases. The way you approach the differences will make an impact on how they feel about themselves.