How to Raise a Child with a High Self Esteem: 9 Steps
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Give kids responsibilities to help build their self-esteem.

Every mom wants her child to grow up to be a confident adult, but simply telling your child that she is smart and capable doesn't necessarily make her feel that way. In fact, too much praise can damage self-esteem or train kids to tune out compliments. Learn how to give praise that sticks and why it's so important to give kids the space to experiment.


  1. 1
    Praise kids when they do something well, such as picking up their toys, setting the table or sharing with a friend. In addition, praise effort and persistence, not just results.
  2. 2
    Avoid empty or insincere praise. If you give praise for insignificant accomplishments or give vague praise, kids might dismiss it, tune it out or become over-dependent on praise.
  3. 3
    Avoid comparisons. For example, don't compliment children by saying they did something earlier or better than a sibling or friend. Kids have different strengths and develop at different rates, so don't teach your child to measure his self-worth by others' accomplishments.
  4. 4
    Allow kids to contribute to the family. For example, let kids assist in cooking, cleaning and taking care of pets and sick family members. This helps build a sense of self-worth and belonging, and also teaches responsibility.
  5. 5
    Give kids developmentally appropriate choices to help them build independence. For example, 3-year-olds can decide between two outfits and 5-year-olds can give input on what sport they'd like to play after school.
  6. 6
    Let kids make mistakes. Obviously, you need to prevent your children from running into traffic or playing with power tools, but it's OK for kids to scrape their knees or make a mess. Kids gain confidence from overcoming failure, so resist the urge to overprotect them.
  7. 7
    Keep a positive, loving attitude when you interact with your kids. If you're grumpy all the time, they might internalize the idea that they aren't worth talking to or playing with.
  8. 8
    Model a positive attitude toward yourself. For example, if your daughter hears you complain about those last 10 pounds you need to lose, she might be more likely to worry about her weight, too.
  9. 9
    Discipline with love, and ensure that your children understand you're upset about what they've done, not who they are. When possible, instead of criticizing what kids are doing, tell them what you'd like them to do instead. And no matter how frustrated or disappointed you are, never call your children names or tell them they're failures.


  • Talk to your child's doctor if you believe your child has low self-esteem. Some kids need professional help to develop confidence.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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