Every child struggles with self-esteem at some point in their life. Imagine how much more challenging self-esteem can be for a child who struggles in school or who has a learning disability. This can really hinder their confidence and how much effort they are willing to put into their education. When a child has high self-esteem, they don’t waste much time impressing others because they already know their value. Your child’s judgment of himself, influences his or her friends, if they get along with others, the kind of person they marry, and how productive they will be in the future.
If a child is experiencing self-esteem issues, it will affect many aspects of their life. It will hinder creativity, integrity, stability, and can and even affect whether he or she will be a leader or follower. You child’s feelings of self-worth determine their aptitude and ability, which eventually leads to every child’s success or failure as a human being.
It is important as parents to help our children understand mistakes are not only part of growing up, but making mistakes is important. When Thomas Edison was questioned about trying 1,014 times before inventing the light bulb, he said, “I did not fail 1,014 times. I successfully found out what did not work 1,014 times.”
Instead of looking at how many mistakes your child makes on their math test, first praise them for how many they got right and then help them to correct their mistakes. Emphasize to them that we all learn by making mistakes.
There are many ways we can contribute to our child having a healthy self esteem and self-confidence not only at home, but at school and among their peers. Here are a few tools that can help:
- Focus on strengths.The first step to building self-esteem with your child, especially if they have a learning disability is to target his or her strengths. Try finding something outside of school your child can feel successful at whether it is a sport, art class, craft, or music lesson. As your child gains more self-confidence, continue to remind them that he or she can be just as successful in school. Talk with your child’s teacher to let them know what you are working on outside of school so the teacher can also focus on similar academic strengths that will help them succeed in the classroom.
- Partner with Your Child’s Teacher.As a parent, it’s important to invest as much time in your child’s education as the teacher does.. You can prepare a learning plan with your child’s teacher to ensure his or her learning materials are at their level and are tailored to their needs. Your child may need more individual attention or require additional resources like a professional tutoring center.
- Keep instructions positive.Kids hear a lot of negative words, especially if they struggle with behavior or attention issues. Instead of using words like “no,” “don’t,” “stop,” and “quit,” try telling your child what you want them to do, not just what you want them not to do. Many kids need to know what the appropriate or expected behavior is and parents and teachers must be involved in redirecting inappropriate behaviors and instructing the child on what he or she should be doing instead.
- Clarify expectations.Taking on complex projects even if the instructions seem simple to others can be tough for children. Sometimes helping children understand tasks and projects from a different angle is more effective. For example, instead of saying, “it’s time to pick up your toys,” try saying, “please pick up your toys.” By using this different approach, children can organize what they need to do to complete the task. Many children, especially those with ADHD, have difficulty creating long-term goals. By giving children “bite-size” pieces, they can build the skills that benefit them in the long-term.
- Use rewards.We have found at Learning Enhancement Center that rewards are a great tool to motivate our students and rewards give them something to work toward. Rewards are a helpful tool to encourage positive behavior and helps children to complete hard tasks. After the child sees that good behavior and greater accomplishments can be reached, they won’t always need the reward.
In conclusion, let us not overlook the fact that every child needs to feel both loved and worthwhile; however, lovability must not be tied to worthwhile performance. The more loveable any child feels, however, the more likely he or she is to perform well in school and gains more confidence in their abilities.