Helping Your Child Develop a Strong Sense of Self
Having a strong sense of self is one of the best gifts you can give your child, and it is something that will stay with them for a lifetime. Knowing who they are and what they stand for, and understanding how they fit in and contribute to the big picture is important both now and in the future. Here are some ideas on how to help your child develop a sense of confidence and self-worth.
Be a Role Model
Lead by example – Children are very observant, and they learn more from watching you than they do from what you tell them. Be sure to model the behavior, values and attitudes you want to encourage – they will pick it up by watching you.
Encourage Positive Self-talk
Promote positive messages – When your child tries something new and is successful, praise them for their effort and for listening to instructions. Also, be mindful of the words you speak around children, and make sure to encourage a positive attitude, for example, “I can do it! I’m sure I’m capable of this!”
Teach Problem-solving Skills
Help your child develop problem-solving skills – As your child grows, they will begin to encounter more complex issues, and it’s important to help them learn how to confront, analyze and solve these problems. Encourage them to think through things and be a sounding board, offering support and guidance, but allowing them to come up with their own solutions.
Provide independence and ownership – Validate your child’s feelings, even if you don’t always agree with their decisions. Give them opportunities to make their own choices and experience the consequences. For example, let them choose their own hobbies or have some say in what they wear or what they have for dinner.
Foster a Positive Relational Environment
Cultivate relationships and connections – Children need to feel connected and supported by those around them to have a sense of self. Help your child create positive relationships by teaching skills such as communication and empathy. Encourage your child to spend time with close family and friends, and give them opportunities to get involved in the community and be of service to others.
Encourage Exploration and Discovery
Nurture curiosity and exploration – Invite your child to explore their interests and talents by offering activities that are challenging and interesting. Encourage them to ask questions and share their thoughts and ideas. Help them develop a sense of identity and pride in their accomplishments.
Having a strong sense of self is essential to a person’s holistic well-being. By taking the time to nurture your child’s growth and development, you can help them develop the skills and attitudes they need to be successful and fulfilled in life.