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How To Increase Your Child's Self Esteem.


Kid’s self-esteem.

I think most of us parents worry about our children’s morals and for them to grow up into fine honest respectful adults.  In our effort to make them perfect, even though we are not perfect, we tend to be too critical of our kids.  I know I used to correct the minor errors when my kids drew pictures, cleaned up their rooms and such.  They would bring home a school paper that they were proud of doing.  I would say what a great job but then point out the minor errors.  If they do a job that is good for their age, then praise them and drop it.  They will make careless mistakes in their school work and chores around the house… just like we make careless mistakes at our work or personal checkbook.

 One of our sons took violin lessons at age 5.  The Suzuki instructor told us never to criticize… only praise him that he is doing better.  So the first lesson he grabbed the violin and bow in his fists and scratched the strings.  Sounded like a cat dieing.  She clapped and said you are doing well.  I’m thinking “I paid $15 dollars for this?”.  We go lessons once a week but the parent has to do the lesson the other 6 days.  So as time goes my wife performs most of the lessons.  Occasionally I would be off and do the lesson.  Being a doctor and needing to be precise, I tended to be more critical.  The violin is hard since just a few degrees off and you are on the wrong string.   So I tended to fuss at him: “You finger is on the wrong string!   Move it over!!!” and his reaction was to put it down and frown.  Then I would remember the teacher’s instructions so I would say: “you were close …. Keep up the good work.  You are doing better.”  After 6 months he was playing Twinkle Twinkle flawlessly and in 2 years playing Bach and Beethoven.  Never being critical… just encouraging him to do better.  So when your child tries to pick up their room and misses some items on the floor, don’t be critical of the errors and mistakes.  He did do a good job for an 8 yr old.  He isn’t 25 yr old.  Just ignore the mistakes and complement him.  Go in there later and pick up the things he missed. Or go in there later and pickup the things they missed.  Compliment them that they did a good job of cleaning the room and they will continue to do a better job as they get older.

 Never say anything negative in your child’s hearing range.  They hear every word even though they look like they are not listening and just playing over there.  It really is more effective in what you say to others in your child’s presence rather than what you say directly to them.  And you should tell them you think they are smart, etc.  But if you are talking to Grandma on the phone or in person telling the bad things you child has done, they are getting the impression of poor self-esteem.  But if you are bragging about things they did well, then they are over there thinking that they are a wonderful person.  If you need to complain and gripe about the bad things, do it when they absolutely cannot hear you.

 Also if the child is starting to lie or do things that are not proper and moral, then brag to everyone in their presence how they are honest and never lie.  Now they have to try to live up to your expectations.  And you are drilling into their mind that “I am honest and don’t lie”.  We tend to complain how the child lies all the time and you are instilling that attitude into their minds.   You could try the reverse and brag how good they are to other people in their presence. 

 Dr. Knapp