5 Surprising Things That Hurt Kid’s Self-Esteem

We all want to be great parents with super confident kids. Here are some surprising things that actually hurt kids self-esteem.

We all want to be great parents with super confident kids. Here are some surprising things that actually hurt kids self-esteem.

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.

confident kid sitting on swing on the playground




They are learning they are capable. 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. If 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. They can’t stay with you forever.

Solving all their problems for them hurts kids self-esteem

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.

Criticizing them too much hurts kids self-esteem

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.

Kids cooking together at the table

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.

How to build confidence in kids

For more tips on how to help your child have a good self-esteem, click here

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Hurt Kid’s Self-Esteem

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  1. Yavonna says:

    Watching there eyes light up when they do something and master something is so worth the frustration of want to just do it!

  2. Cassie says:

    Great post. I am reading up on parenting right now. I am going to allow my 3 year old to send me to the loony bin!

  3. Leslie says:

    Great advice.

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