Self Esteem Tips
for Your Kids....
and for You too!
By Susie and Otto Collins
When your child (or children)
holds him or herself back or
speaks in self-defeating ways,
it can feel like a twisting
knife to the gut.
After all, for most parents, our
children are precious and
special. Even the most
difficult and unruly of kids
will have a space in his or her
So when a parent recognizes that
his or her child is struggling
with low self esteem, it can be
a frustrating and scary.
Low self esteem contributes to
relationship problems, an
inability to achieve goals and
aspirations and it can even lead
to health challenges.
This is probably not the kind of
future (or present) that you had
in mind for your child. If your
son or daughter has low self
esteem, you probably want to do
something to help.
A mistake that many parents
make while trying to raise their
kid's self esteem...
Too many parents simply react
when they see or hear their kids
putting themselves down or
holding themselves back.
For example, let's say that your
daughter is crying and lamenting
how "fat" and/or "ugly" she is.
This may not be the first time
that you've heard her speak
about her body and herself in
Many parents would immediately
want to make it all better for
this daughter (or son). They
might rush over, hug the child
or teenager and say something
like, "You aren't fat or ugly.
You are so beautiful."
There's nothing necessarily
wrong with telling your child
how beautiful (or handsome) you
think she or he is.
But when we try to fix it for
our kids and attempt to wipe
away the painful feelings that
they're having, we really aren't
Chances are, your child or
teenager already knows what you
think-- the trouble is, she or
he doesn't believe you or agree
Instead of merely disagreeing
with your child's contentions
that he or she is "worthless,"
"stupid," "ugly," "fat," or
whatever the belief is, listen.
Listen to the feelings that your
child is having at this moment.
Ask questions about these
feelings and about any possible
plan your child has to make
Be sure to let your child know
that you are here for him or her
with support, love and open
Honestly assess your own
sense of self worth.
Sometimes, the bolstering we try
to do for our kids comes out
hollow or even contradictory to
how we tend to live our own
Too often, children grow up
learning low self esteem by
No parent wants to hear that it
is his or her "fault" that a
child feels inadequate. But, it
is quite often the case that
young people take on the beliefs
of their parents.
Of course, children have their
own unique experiences. At the
same time, the power of example
cannot be overlooked.
If you recognize that your child
has low self esteem, take some
time to assess how healthy your
own self esteem is most of the
All of us experience days when
we feel better about ourselves
and days when we feel lacking or
not so good.
The point here is to acknowledge
it if most of the time you
perceive yourself as
"inadequate," "lazy," "stupid,"
"ugly," "worthless," etc.
If you do, it's quite likely
that your child has picked up on
these beliefs. They might seep
out in off-handed comments you
make about yourself or they may
be apparent from the way you
walk, the decisions you make and
the state of your life in
Above all, if you realize that
you have been an example of low
self esteem for your child,
please don't bring yourself down
any further with guilt or blame.
Instead, try to understand where
some of your
self-defeating thinking has come
Get to know what fuels your low
self esteem and then begin to
It's all about habit.
If you tend to hold back from
applying for promotions at work,
for example, because you think
you are "unqualified," begin to
think differently about that
promotion and about yourself.
Catch yourself when you think
something like, "That job
position sounds challenging and
pays more, but I could never get
that kind of a promotion."
In the very next moment, tell
yourself this instead, "That
position sounds challenging and
pays more. I'd love to earn more
money and feel excited by my
You might even tell yourself, "I
have skills and ideas that would
serve my company well if I were
Practice this new way of
thinking and set a goal for
yourself to apply for the
promotion on a specific date.
Even if you don't get this
particular promotion, know that
you are closer to the
improvement you seek with every
self-affirming thought you have.
The more practiced you get at
raising your own self esteem,
the stronger example of
confidence and self-respect you
will set for your child.
This is possibly one of the most
powerful ways that you can help
him or her enjoy healthy self