the Message Continues ... i3/4





 Experts agree that building a childs self-esteem is one important way to lay a healthy foundation for a happy and productive future. But what exactly is self-esteem, and how do you help your child develop it? What psychologists call self esteem is a combination of self-confidence and self respect.

 According to leading child development experts, two ingredients are essential to developing self-esteem: freedom and encouragement. A child who is free to experiment, to fail, and to try again develops a sense of her own accomplishments. If a parent gives too much help, the child does not get to own that sense of accomplishment.

Eventually, she may lose her sense of curiosity and become passive. When creating a nurturing environment for your children, keep in mind that they are not simply little adults. Children tend to be impulsive and self-centered and to think in simple terms.

 If you expect them to think or behave like adults, you will be setting them up to fail. In their guide for parents and teachers, Self-Esteem for Tots to Teens, educators Eugene Anderson, George Redman, and Charlotte Rogers offer these five principles for building self-esteem in children:

 1. Listen to and acknowledge your childs thoughts and feelings. By giving your child your full attention when she talks and then paraphrasing her thoughts, you show her that she counts.

 2. Create situations that help your child experience success, not failure. Set clear and appropriate expectations, offer a reasonable amount of help, provide adequate incentives, and remove obstacles.

3. Give your child a feeling of reasonable control over his life. Having too little control over his environment can make your child feel inadequate; having too much control can make him feel neglected and insecure.

 4. Reinforce that your child is lovable and capable. Praise her for what she does, reward her successes, and tell her you are proud of her.

5. Show your child that you have a positive view of yourself. Children can catch self-esteem from adults. Let your child hear you talk about yourself in positive terms. Let them see you react to circumstances in your life in a positive way.