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Self-Esteem

Self-esteem has been shown to be very important to a child's development. A child with high self-esteem is likely to be much more confident in social situations and also in relation to school work. She or he will enjoy new experiences and will have very positive attitudes towards others. The child with low self-esteem, on the other hand, will lack confidence in his / her ability to succeed and will worry greatly about making mistakes. Research has shown that the child who feels good about himself/herself is much more likely to reach potential in all areas. As parents you have a vital role to play in developing your child's self-esteem. This can be done most effectively by providing an environment in which your child:

•  perceives a sense of warmth and love;

•  is offered a degree of security that allows him or her to grow and to try new things without an overriding concern about failure;

•  feels respected as an individual;

•  is given rules and standards that are reasonably and consistently enforced;

•  has a chance to succeed at his or her own level;

•  is encouraged to have ideas and opinions;

•  recognises that there are clear and definite limits within the environment;

•  is accepted "with no strings attached".

20 Ways to Develop Your Child's Self-Esteem

Set aside time each day to spend with each child individually.

Try to help your child achieve success in some way each day by offering a variety of activities.

Listen to your child and look at them when they are talking to you.

Point out and appreciate unique qualities in your child (skills, attitudes, behaviours, abilities etc.) that make him/her special to you and others.

Give your child plenty of opportunity to make choices and decisions from an early age. This will help him/her to realise that choices have consequences.

Find time to laugh and have fun with your child.

Help them to develop their own special gifts by letting them develop an interest in activities outside school, e.g. sport, art, music, drama, dance etc.

Encourage them to learn responsibility by requiring them to complete tasks.

Encourage your child to be proud of his/her ideas, interests and activities. This makes children try harder and makes them keen to do better.

Give your child recognition for the effort he/she makes even though it may not come up to your expectations. If you do he/she will continue to try.

Help your child to realise that it's OK to make mistakes as we all need to do this in order to learn. Being able to laugh at your own mistakes is a useful way to do this. Playing games can also help children to realise that losing doesn't really matter.

Let your child know that you love him or her even when you disapprove of his/her behaviour.

Allow your children to express their feelings and let them know its OK to do so. They are entitled to feel angry, upset, disappointed, envious, timid etc However, they may need some help in finding ways of expressing these appropriately.

Use plenty of praise to encourage responsible behaviour.

Encourage his/her independence.

Welcome your children's friends into your home. If your child has poor social skills he/she may find it easier to mix with just one other child at a time.

Build a collection of photos and reminders of things your child has participated in and succeeded at, that can be looked back on with pride.

Try not to set your expectations so high that the possibility of failure prevents your child from trying.

Answer your child's questions openly, honestly and immediately if possible.

Let your child hear you praise him/her to other adults.

This information was received from the Department of Education and Science Psychological Service (June 2008)

"Mol an óige 'is tiocfaidh sí"