Helping children build strong self-esteem is one of the most important tasks parents have. Teaching them how to value, respect, and treat each other with love is key from the first years of their life. Now how to do it?
Parents are the most important people for their children. They are the ones who exert the greatest influence on the complex but beautiful task of knowing themselves, the support from which to discover the world, and to resort to when they feel lost. Who provides them with the mirror to begin to recognize themselves. Therefore, it is so important that they begin to cultivate acceptance in them.
Need to feel safe
When parents accept their children as they are, they value and appreciate them; they provide a psychological shield that will protect them for life. But unfortunately, it is not always the case. Not all parents are able to meet the emotional needs of their children. However, you can always learn the wonderful art of acceptance, even in adulthood.
On the other hand, we must bear in mind that children learn from their parents, from the behaviors they manifest, the words they speak, and the gestures they represent. Thus, if all this set of answers has as a conduit thread to love, affection and security, children will internalize that they are valued, loved, and respected, that is, that they are taken into account.
Now, if children are treated from contempt, aggression, or indifference, they will feed their despair, rejection, or abandonment. In this way, they will learn that they are not loved, but invisible and their self-esteem will be harmed. Therefore, it is important:
- Recognize their potential instead of continually pointing out their mistakes.
- Listen to them and be interested in what they want to share with us, as well as ask them and make them participants.
How to help children express their discomfort
Promoting healthy self-esteem in children also means teaching them to express their discomfort, their negative emotions, in an appropriate manner, as well as the various ways in which they can face them.
Self-esteem implies knowing and valuing ourselves, and this we cannot do if we forget when we are bad, or we are angry. Everything counts in the emotional universe. For this reason, below, we indicate a series of keys that will favor the expression of emotions in children:
- Provide a safe and accepting climate that invites children to express how they feel.
- Help them in expressing their discomfort. For example, through activities such as writing, drawing, telling a story, interpreting, etc.
- Tell them a similar situation in which we feel the same as them, in order to foster the idea that we understand it.
- Be a good model in coping with intense feelings.
- Help them feel good in situations of disappointment or defeat.
The importance of positive language
We must not forget one of the most powerful elements that parents have to strengthen their children’s self-esteem: language. The way we address them determines part of the link we build.
In each of the interactions we have with children, we are somehow reflecting our identity. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the words and tone of voice that we use when we address them. The fundamental thing is that we use a positive and sincere language that fosters your self-esteem.
As we can see, being a father means being an instructor and a trainer of skills to live in the world. In this way, the use of discipline is necessary. However, this cannot be an assault on self-esteem, but a means to create a safe environment that facilitates learning and autonomy.