Self-esteem is the price we place on ourselves. Self-esteem is rooted on two major things : “self-efficacy” and “self-confidence”. Self-efficacy is the ability to produce a desired or intended result while Self-confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. It’s broadly said that self-esteem could either be high or low and for the sake of this article, we will be dwelling more on low self-esteem.
Being in a Low state of self-esteem is not permanent and it mostly emerges from childhood.
Having low self-esteem is not just a global sense of being worthless; it manifests itself in action—or in inaction—whenever the child (the grown child)—attempts to do anything. [Neuman, M.D., Fredric. “Low Self-esteem.” Psychology Today. Accessed March 3, 2014.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fighting-fear/201304/low-self-esteem] It is interesting to note that 75% of girls with low self-esteem are reported to be engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, and
smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem as seen in PR Newswire Association LLC and Quenqua.
Here are some signs of low self-esteem in a child:
Lack of confidence,
Always seeking approval hence making bad choices,
Pleases others at the detriment of self,
Finds it difficult to understand and express his/her needs,
Finds it hard to think through processes and take decisions,
Hurts other people because they are hurting too
Tries to pull others down in order to rise up
Always feeling helpless and hopeless
Blames others for his/her own wrongs
Always saying/feeling someone else is better or ‘finer’
As a parent, the role of building healthy self-esteem in children can’t be over-emphasized and with the following nuggets, you can optimize your child’s self-esteem.
- Be true to yourself and cultivate a healthy self-esteem: our children don’t listen to us, they model after us. If you don’t have healthy self-esteem, your children will mirror it and exhibit same.
- Don’t compare your children to others: comparing your children with others or even themselves makes them feel low, every child is beautiful and unique in his own way.
- Don’t show favouritism to any child: this doesn’t only make a child feel low, it also causes sibling rivalry; another crucial topic for another day.
- Affirm your love to your child often: words of affirmation and show of affection is a bestseller drug to self-worth anytime, any day.
- Discipline your child’s behaviour not their personality: a child’s personality is different from their behaviour e.g. when scolding a child, words like “you have told a lie and you will be punished for it” is better than “you are a lair and I will kill you before you disgrace me”
- Seek a professional if your child exhibits 5 or more of the symptoms listed above.
Thank you very much for taking your time to read.
Written by Olayinka Akanni (The self-esteem Optimizer)