How important is self esteem for a developing child?
Last week I was at my Daughters school for their Grade 1 day! I can’t believe that my baby girl is starting school next year. Yes, she’s been in playschool and kindergarten since she was a couple of months old. But now she’s starting school properly. And the time has gone too fast.
All the parent were invited to the school to witness the class divisions and meet the teachers. The principle also gave a speech, and it is during his speech that a few home truths dawned on me.
His speech centered around the differences between his school, and others in the area. He was telling us parents that his school does not focus on prestige; they do not single out only a few students as the best. But rather focus on developing each individual students own talents.
They also refuse to exclude any students from group activities; which is why their choir performs with 90+ kids, whereas other choirs in the area usually have about 30 kids part taking.
To some parents I think a schools that runs like this can be a difficult concept to understand. How can a child excel if there is no awards to achieve for his efforts?
I was very excited as he gave his speech, because I believe that children should be taught to be themselves, especially at such a young age. Their teachers should help them become the best version of themselves that they can be.
A child might not be the best mathematician, but he could have and amazing artistic gift. Alternatively a child might not be the best at coloring in or drawing, but have a gift for science.
I think that we as parents can tend to focus too much on what we want for our children. It goes without saying that we want them to be happy. We want them to do well. We want them to have the best life possible.
But, do we sometimes focus so much on what we want for our kids that we forget to look at them, and what they want.
Perhaps, we should stop for a second and look at our unique and amazing children and instead of thinking about what we want them to achieve (sports, academics, etc) look at what they are good at. Look at what they enjoy doing. And support and further develop these abilities.
You might want your child to become a Doctor some day, but maybe they have the abilities to become a great artist. Or you might want your child to become a wealth lawyer, but they just want to be a parent.
Why is a good career the only measure of success?
I’ve never wanted a career as a child. My ‘dream job’ always changed. First I wanted to be a teacher, than a marine biologist, then a chef. These career aspirations were ever changing. But the one thing I always knew I would be was a mother. That never changed.
One of our most important roles as parents are to be supportive. This becomes difficult, especially if your child needs support in something that you as a parent don’t understand, or even agree with.
The principle told us a story of a meeting he had with the mother of a girl who had been chosen for the 2nd string Netbal team. The mother was very upset, because she felt her daughter should be first string and was demanding to know why her daughter wasn’t good enough to be on the 1st string team. The principle looked up at this angry mom and asked: “Is your daughter happy?”. The mother replied: ” Yes!”. The principle then looked at her and paused for a moment, before responding: “So what is the problem?”
This story really touched me. Yes sometimes we believe that our children are being treated unfairly, and we feel that we need to defend them and protect them. But is it always necessary? If your child is happy and thriving, maybe we should take a step back and enjoy that moment with our children. Heaven knows they’re going to have enough drama and issues once they become teens.
So, let us try to let our kids be. They have years of high school in which they can compete to be the best athlete, or best student. Let us as parents just support our kids and show them that they are the best version of themselves. Let us build their self esteem now – so that when they face all the trails and tribulations of being a teenager, at least we gave them a solid, positive foundation to build on.
Do you need some more help in how to build your child’s self-esteem? Here is a list of some other very helpful articles that I recommend:
- From Kids Health, Developing your child’s Self Esteem.
- Over at Today’s Parent, 11 Ways to Help Your Kid Build Self Esteem.
- Seen on Ask Dr Sears, 12 Ways to Raise a Confident Child.
- Article at Raising Children, Building Self Esteem: Children 1-8.
- Last but not least; at Parents, Simple Ways to Boost your Child’s Self Esteem.
How important is boosting your child’s self esteem to you? How do you promote a healthy self image in your children? Leave a comment down below and let us know.