Three Tips for Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem and Confidence
The way your child looks at himself or herself is very important because it sets them up for a lifetime of either happiness or unhappiness. Having self-esteem leads to confidence, and the more confidence your child has, the better she or he is able to handle everything life has to throw their way. They’ll be more likely to reach and stretch to achieve new things, and you’re allowing them to really find out what they can do.
Here are three ideas to help you build your child’s self-esteem and confidence:
1. Respond to your child. This one may seem obvious, but it really isn’t. As a single mother, you have a lot on your plate, and sometimes we allow our children to talk without really listening to what they are saying. We are exhausted after a long day at work, and we just want to go home and rest. It’s important to really hear what your child is saying and respond in a meaningful way that shows you have heard what they are saying. If you’re punishing something they did wrong, then make sure that you respond rather than react. Respond in a way that shows you’re listening to what they have to say, but reinforce the fact that they behaved inappropriately. When your child sees that you respond to his or her needs or concerns, their confidence will grow because they will feel important.
2. Date your child. Of course no mother is perfect, and there will be days when you find yourself unable to listen as well as you should. But if you plan regular dates with your child, you’ll find that you can get to know him or her better than ever before. A date should include something that will allow you to chat. Take him or her out to dinner and just talk. Or go to the zoo and interact together. Anything that gets you talking on more general topics will lead to a greater bonding and trust. This, in turn, shows them that they are important to you and will lead to a greater self-esteem and confidence. If you have more than one child, make time for regular dates with each of them. This can be difficult if you’re a single mother, but find a friend who also has children and try to take turns watching each other’s children. Aim for one date with one of your children once a week.
3. Don’t beat yourself up for being less than perfect. Your child will respond to the way you treat yourself as well. No one can expect to be perfect, but we can all do the best we can. Try to model this idea for your children and express it in a way that doesn’t make excuses but yet shows that it’s OK to not be perfect. Having confidence is about being OK when you make a mistake. When your children are confident enough to try things and risk making a mistake, then they will have the self-esteem necessary to pick themselves up and either try again or move on to the next thing.
Raising children who have self-esteem and confidence is no easy task, but it can be done. Your children look up to you, and they are looking to see how you act to discover a model for themselves. When you take the time to show them how important they are, a greater self-esteem and confidence will develop.