You might be surprised that some of the things we do to build confidence in our kids actually hurt’s their self-esteem. Find out more.
When my daughter was young, I planned to be the perfect mother. I always wanted her to feel secure and happy. What I didn’t know is that a lot of what I did that I thought would help, actually hurts kid’s self-esteem.
5 Surprising Things That Hurt Kids Self-Esteem
I thought if I did everything for her, I was being a great mom who cared. What I didn’t know is that many of the things I thought she needed undermined her self-esteem. If I knew then what I know now, I would do a lot of things differently.
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Causes of low self-esteem
There are many things that can cause low self-esteem, but the ones that might surprise you are subtler.
Doing everything for them hurts kids self-esteem
Let them try. Let them learn to take off their own shoes and put them on. When they want to be independent, don’t try to stifle it because you’re in a hurry or because it’s easier to do it yourself. Of course, you can do it faster, but when they struggle and try, there is so much more that happens than just accomplishing that task so you can go somewhere.
They are learning they are capable. And they are learning they can handle things on their own. They are learning they have power. Nurture that and encourage it to grow. It’s a great confidence builder.
Not letting kids make choices hurts their self-esteem
If kids think you are the only one who can make good decisions, they will always have to depend on you for help. When they learn to think for themselves, they can practice making decisions when you are still around to help if they make the wrong ones.
If you control everything they do, they will not be able to have success on their own. Your kids can’t stay with you forever.
Solving all their problems for them hurts kids ability to problem solve
Let them fail! The number one confidence builder you can give your kids is letting them make mistakes. If they want to do something and you don’t let them try, even though you know it won’t work, they will have no idea what it feels like to fail. This could be dangerous.
You will not be able to fix everything for your kids. Don’t try to make their life perfect as they grow because grown-up life is FAR from perfect. We have setbacks every day and plenty of disappointments and learning opportunities. Let your kids learn when they are young how to handle them.
Praising everything they do hurts kids self-esteem
Let them earn genuine praise for a job well done but don’t tell them good job for the tiniest thing. Let them know they are doing well, but wait until they do something that took some doing to praise them because praise can become mundane and lose its meaning and become insincere.
Kids need to learn that their boss won’t stand next to them and go “GOOD JOB” for every form they fill out or project they finish. Don’t set them up to thrive only on other people’s praise. Teach them that a job well done is one that makes them feel proud.
If you need to give constructive criticism, do it sparingly and with statements that build them up to balance it out.
Leave the small things unsaid. Choose your battles on what really needs to be brought up. Perfectionism is ugly and it hurts everyone around it. Don’t expect perfection from your kids. Don’t expect it from yourself in front of them.
Everyone makes mistakes. Bring up the things that really matter to the child’s future and let the rest go.
Don’t sweat the petty stuff parents, many things in life take care of themselves.
Doing too much and being too involved with kid’s every move can really devastate their confidence and their chances for success. Keep an eye on them and be there when they need a soft place to fall, but don’t smother your kids.
Believe me, I know this from experience. I thought I was being a good mom at the time, but that is one thing I totally screwed up.
Self-esteem building activities could be things such as solving puzzles, open-ended art that doesn’t have a product that is expected, running and climbing, learning new skills, all about me activities, sharing what you’re afraid of, and changing the way they talk to themselves.
Remember that the way you talk to yourself is how your child will talk to themselves. Do you have a habit of putting yourself down? I know I do. But when I do that, the kids learn to do it too. So you can say, that was dumb of me to do that but…I forgive myself because no one is perfect. Or I wish I didn’t spill that but…I can clean it up and it will be fine.
This technique teaches kids that it’s okay to make mistakes and since everyone makes them, that’s a great way to build self-esteem for a lifetime.
For more tips on how to help your child have good self-esteem, click here.
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