Your child’s view of his personal worthiness is directly related to his self-esteem and confidence levels. According to child development experts at the Kids Health website, his self-esteem is his protection against the hardships and trials the world will toss his direction as he grows up, which is why fostering healthy self-esteem is so important. Without it, your child risks feeling like he isn’t good enough, he can’t accomplish certain things or that he isn’t worthy.
Model confidence and healthy self-esteem for your child, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website. Children learn by example, and if your child sees you talking down to yourself, apologizing for things that are not your fault or treating yourself as if you aren’t good enough, he is more likely to do the same. If you are unhappy because of something not related to your child, he is still likely to view himself as the cause of your unhappiness, which is detrimental to his self-esteem.
Use positive reinforcement with your child and make sure that you always reward his effort in any situation rather than the outcome of said situation, advise Kids Health professionals. For example, if he works really hard on a science project and doesn’t get the grade he hoped for, don’t tell him that he can do better by working harder next time. Tell him that he may not have gotten an A but that you are really proud of him for how hard he worked on that project. This helps to build his self-esteem.
Redirect his negative opinions of his worthiness, advises the Kids Health site. For example, say he doesn’t make the soccer team and says something like, “I’m just not good enough to play soccer.” Tell him that he is a good athlete and that soccer just happens to be the sport he needs to focus on a little more. Generalizing his behavior can make him feel that he is unworthy by setting him up to believe his less-than-confident thoughts.
Encourage him to succeed, advises the Dr. Sears website. For example, if you notice that he seems to have an innate rhythm and ability to dance, encourage him to sign up for dance lessons. When you recognize his strengths and encourage him to work on those, it helps him to focus on something he’s already good at and build his self-esteem.
Provide your child with household responsibility, advises the Dr. Sears site. When you give your child the responsibility of keeping his room clean or taking out the trash, you are providing him with the feeling that you consider him worthy of being responsible.