Help the child believe in himself!


With simple steps every parent can give their child a great gift, that of self-esteem! It is his behavior that will play the primary role in developing this healthy feeling.

παιχνίδια στην άμμο,οικογένεια










Healthy self-esteem is a child's armor against life's challenges. Children who have a good self-concept handle conflict better and resist negative pressure better. They smile more and are able to enjoy their lives. These guys are realistic and optimistic people.


Conversely, for children with low self-esteem, challenges can be a source of stress & frustration. Children who have a poor self-concept have difficulty finding solutions to problems. As they are tormented by negative self-criticism thoughts such as "I don't deserve it" or "I can't do anything right", they become passive or become withdrawn or depressed. When faced with a new challenge, instead of trying to succeed their immediate reaction is to say "I can't".

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the set of "beliefs" or impressions we have about ourselves. How we define ourselves affects our attitudes and behaviors & has a direct impact on managing our emotions and relationships.


The model of self-esteem that a child will develop begins to form very early in life. For example, when a toddler manages, after dozens of unsuccessful attempts, to take his first step, or to bring the spoon to his mouth to eat, he experiences a feeling of accomplishment, which strengthens his self-esteem and teaches him the attitude " I can do it, by myself."


During this process of try-fail, the child gains a sense of his own abilities while at the same time creating an image of himself based on interactions with other people. The involvement of the parents at this point is fundamental and their reactions can help the child to develop healthy self-concepts of self-esteem.


Key for self-esteem is balance

A child who gets excited about an achievement but doesn't feel loved may eventually experience low self-esteem. Correspondingly, a child who feels loved but does not believe they are capable may also end up with low self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem is the result of a proper balance between the two.


Signs of healthy and unhealthy self-esteem

Self-esteem fluctuates as a child grows. The feeling of self-esteem often changes and adapts, as it is influenced by the new experiences and perceptions of the child, according to the needs and stimuli he receives by age. Parents should observe and understand the signs of healthy and unhealthy self-esteem.


A child with low self-esteem may be reluctant to try new things. He may often talk negatively about himself, saying things like 'I'm stupid', 'I'll never learn to do that' or 'Why? Nobody cares about me anyway." The child may not be able to handle frustration, give up easily, or wait for someone else to take control. Children with low self-esteem tend to be highly critical of themselves and are easily disappointed by them. They see temporary setbacks as permanent, unbearable situations. The feeling of pessimism prevails.


A child with healthy self-esteem enjoys interacting with others. He is comfortable in social gatherings and enjoys both group activities and individual pursuits. When challenges arise, he is able to try to find solutions. He is able to express his displeasure without belittling others or himself. For example, instead of saying, "I'm dumb," a child with healthy self-esteem will say, "I don't get this." He knows his strengths and weaknesses and accepts them. The feeling of optimism in him dominates.


How can a parent help boost their child's self-esteem?

Be careful what you say. Children are very sensitive to their parents' words. Remember to praise your child, not only for his successes, but also for his effort & above all be honest. If, for example, he didn't make the basketball team, avoid saying "try again and you'll make it." It's better to say "it's okay, I'm very proud of the effort you made." Reward the effort instead of the result.

Be the paradigm. If you are too hard on yourself and pessimistic about
it's about your strengths and weaknesses, the child will copy you. Build your self-esteem and your child will have a great role model to follow.

παιδί με φωτογραφική μηχανή

Identify and change your child's misconceptions. It is important for parents to identify the child's false perceptions of himself, which may be about perfection, attractiveness, ability, or anything else. Misconceptions can take root and become reality for the child. For example, a child who does well in school but struggles with math may say he is a bad student. Encourage him to see the situation in its true dimensions. A helpful response would be: “you are a good student. You are doing very well at school. Maths is simply a subject that you should spend more time on. I will help you too. This will help boost his self-esteem!.
Be spontaneous and tender with the child. Your love will greatly boost his self-esteem. Hug your child. Tell him you're proud of him. Reward it often and honestly, without overdoing it. Children immediately understand when something is being said from our heart!
Give positive & fair feedback. If you tell your child "you always react like crazy", he will start to think that he doesn't know how to control his tantrums. It is better to tell him: "you got very angry with your brother, but I appreciate that you did not curse and hit him." In this way, you recognize the child's feelings, while encouraging him to make the right choice in his behavior next time.
Create a safe family environment. A child who does not feel safe or who receives abuse in his own home, through negative behaviors and comments, will suffer greatly from feelings of low self-esteem. A child who is exposed to constant fighting by his parents can develop depression & withdrawal. Remember to always respect your child.
Make your home a safety haven for your family. Always be on the lookout for signs of abuse from others, problems at school or problems with peers, and other factors that may affect your child's self-esteem. Address all these matters sensitively but directly.
Help your child have constructive experiences. Activities that encourage cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in boosting children's self-esteem. For example, if an older child helps a younger child learn to read, the results can be miraculous for both children.


Seek expert's help

If you suspect your child has low self-esteem, seek professional help. Family counselors and child psychologists can work with the child to discover what is preventing him from having a good self-image. With a little help, any child can develop healthy self-esteem and lead a happier & more fulfilled life.


Our advice!

  • Communicate with your child and show them that you enjoy talking to them & that you are not doing it as a chore. Express your love with hugs and caresses. Always focus on his positive traits and talents.
  • Don't force your opinions. Try to be flexible.
  • Explain to him that if someone gets angry with him, makes fun of him or attacks him, it does not mean that he is at fault or that he is a bad child.
  • Help it develop self-control. To choose his emotional reaction, instead of reacting impulsively to environmental challenges.
  • Reward every little progress he makes. Reinforce his effort, even when he doesn't succeed.
  • Encourage him to respect and value himself, no matter how well he performs. Help him to pick up on others' aggressive provocations and turn them off or ignore them.


Source: Pediatric Society of Cyprus.

happy baby