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Child Self-esteem: 5 Tips To Build Your Child’s Self-esteem

child self-esteem: tips to build a child self-esteem

I know that burning child self-esteem question that you have.

You have probably asked yourself many times, “How can I build my child self esteem?” ”What causes low self esteem in a child?” or “How can parents affect a child’s self esteem?”

These questions can be burdensome when you do not have an accurate solution. Even people with experience get conflicted with this from time to time. You find yourself looking for the magic pill on how to build your child self-esteem. Or how to  bond with your child.

You are not alone. Seeking knowledge on a journey like parenting is ever better than assuming. And No, knowing the right thing to do, does not automatically come with being a parent. It does not come with having experience either. Even experienced people get it wrong.

child self-esteem: tips to build your child self esteem

Knowledge and insight comes from a consistent desire to get things right and seeking out those insights.

These questions and many more, are what we will focus on, in this article.

We will discuss on “what is a child self-esteem?”, and gradually we will be able to answer the question of “Why is self esteem important in child development?” Apparently, the real focus here is the result you will get after consuming this piece of information.

This content will be one of questions and answers. As much as possible, we will answer major questions relating to a child self-esteem.

So,  let’s dive right into it.

What is a child self-esteem?

A child self-esteem reflects how a child sees herself. It is largely determined by your relationship with that child. If you relate with her in a way that indicates respect, acceptance and value for her individual self, it will directly reflect on the child self-esteem. However, if your relationship with the child indicates otherwise, it will lower their self-esteem.

Ultimately, a child self-esteem is how a child perceives himself or herself.


Why is self esteem important in child development?

what is the importance of self esteem in child development?

This question on “why is self esteem important in child development?” is crucial in understanding why you should be concerned about building your child self-esteem. 

It is safe to say that self esteem in child development, is directly proportional to the impact the child will have in all the relationships they encounter throughout their lives. Therefore, a child self-esteem is important in the following ways:

  1. It prepares your child to take on challenges without feeling threatened

A child with a healthy self-esteem understands that challenges are a part of living and that it is not a reflection of his or her defectiveness. He or she learns to solve problem in their own little way and that builds them to take on bigger challenges in due course.

  1. It builds a child’s confidence

One of the effects of self-esteem is that it rubs off on the confidence of your child. When your child feels good about their thoughts and self in general, he or she grows exponentially confident in whom they are. This confidence also helps them relate with other people with ease.

Having a good social life balance amongst other things is a sign of a healthy self-esteem.

  1. Self esteem build’s gradual independence in a child

As a rule of progression, confidence gradually brings about independence in a child. Self-esteem instills in a child the ability to do things without needing frequent dependence or validation from other people. When a child attempts a task without much supervision, it brings them unbridled joy. Consequently, this gradually paves way for independence.

  1. It protects the child from constituting  prey to bully predators

A child without a healthy self-esteem cannot escape the prey of a bully. This is because, they often regard themselves as small and irrelevant, hence the easy prediction from their predators.  They often lack the ability to stand up for themselves, often because they feel worthless. This “small and irrelevant” perception they have of themselves, leads them into folding and hiding for fear of target-predation.

A child who does not understand that they are valuable, cannot stand up for themselves.

5.  A child self-esteem controls their decision making ability

As far as child self-esteem goes, it is the highest gift any parent can bequeath to their child. This is because, it holds a bearing on the kind of decisions the child will make even as adult.

To further stress this: a child self-esteem does not become redundant after the childhood is over. It carries the child into the future and prevents major damages in life decisions. When children feel good about themselves, they make healthy decisions that can profit both them and humanity.


What causes low self esteem in a child? Or How can parents affect a child’s self esteem?

what causes low self esteem in a child?

I have decided to cover two questions in one section because both questions generate the same quality answer.

To determine what causes low self-esteem in a child, one has to factor in the environment a child lives in. The question on whether an environment fosters positivity or negativity for a child is important to determine this.

The family unit is the first formative stage of a child’s life and parents or primary caregivers are the first direct influence in a child’s life. Therefore, it is not surprising that a child’s life has its foundation in the family. This means that parents have the power to make or mar a child’s life depending on the kind of relationship they form with that child.

Parents, therefore, can affect a child’s self-esteem in the following ways:

  1. Negative Criticism

Being under the weight of criticism rather than correction, lowers a child self-esteem. Mistakes exist for learning to take place. When the learning is replaced with criticism, the child gradually begins to see itself as deficient. Hence, this unequivocally can be said to be one of what causes low self-esteem in a child.

Negative criticism highlights inherent defectiveness in a child, which leads to their self-perception of irrelevance. When parents continue this within a period of time, the child’s belief becomes their thought and opinion about themselves.

  1. Lack of respect for a child’s sense of value

A child self-esteem is largely determined by their sense of value. When things of value to them are disregarded for statutory reasons, it profoundly communicates to the child the ‘inherent irrelevance’ they possess.

Even when something of value to a child does not check your value-gauge, it does not make it less valuable to a child.

A rule of thumb in values as I always communicate goes thus: our values do not always align. Therefore, if you cross paths with another who does not share in your values, respect their individuality.

The same goes for a child.

When a parent disregards something of value to a child, it communicates the wrong message to that child self-esteem.

  1. Lack of trust in a child’s learning ability

child self-esteem

The question of “how can parents affect a child’s self esteem?” is largely exemplified in this list. Often parents make the costly mistake of hovering over a child when they give out an instruction. This is often a way you exert your own anxiety towards failure, on your child.

A child who cannot be trusted with an instruction cannot give the expected result. Their impetus for engagement will gradually hinge to constant monitor. With this effect, a child cannot trust himself or herself to engage in anything without a repeat of instruction from a parent or caregiver.

Although the child might display hatred for this parental negligence, they are rather stuck because it is a model that has become a foundation for them. Inevitably, the child self-esteem becomes crippled because they have not learnt to do things on their own.

4.  Over involvement in a child’s life

Your over-involvement in a child’s life leaves them with increased helplessness. This makes a child unable to learn the basic skill they require for acute survival. While this “over-involvement” might seem like a sweet gesture, it is a way you unknowingly cripple a child’s cognitive development and ability to connect to the demands in their environment.

Over-involvement involves a child’s inability to do things on their own, without the help of their parents or caregivers. It makes them unable to self-connect to needs without an external urge or help.

This often comes in handy in a parent bid to force perfection on the child. You want your child to avoid mistakes; therefore, you shield them from learning consequences. Perfection does not lie in your child’s ability to keep a “clean slate”. It is in their ‘gradual’ ability to discover their own needs, listen to them and solve them accordingly.

That is the basis of learning and growth. When you become over-involved in your child’s life, you stifle any chance to learn and grow. Consequently, they cannot navigate life without your ‘aid’.


  1. Over-arching demand on what a child cannot offer

As discussed earlier, criticism is one major factor that causes low self-esteem in a child. Parents and caregivers often take the easy way out, when they place their responsibility of teaching on a child’s feet.

Demanding from a child what you have not taught, places disappointment at the child’s feet and leads them to see themselves as less-than perfect. It can also make them hard on themselves because of their failure to meet up to your expectation.

Every learning process requires teaching. This learning has in its root; patience, which waters the ideas and makes it blossom in due course. Dropping your expectations on your child when you have not followed the process of teaching it, is injustice towards that child.

Realistically, when injustice is met without recompense, it lowers a person’s self-esteem. This is not different for a child.

  1. Comparison

what causes low self esteem in a child?

One other way parents affect a child self-esteem is through engagement in the act of comparing a child with another. No two children can ever be the same. Each one with their unique strength and weakness. Nicholas is excellent with something your own child is poor at. So what?

Your child sees you compare them with another person. They see you reject their own person and imply preference for another. This act makes a child believe overtime that they are not enough in who they are. Hence, their need to be like the other person in order to be wanted or liked.

Comparison is destructive, rather than being constructive. What causes low self-esteem in a child can be something as ‘common’ as comparison. It is never in the interest of the parent either as this can create difficulty in the relationship between the parent and the child.

Having discussed at length, the topics on ‘what causes low self esteem in a child’ and ‘how can parents affect a child’s self-esteem?’ It’s time to explore the relationship between child anxiety and low self esteem.


Child anxiety and low self esteem

Understanding the relationship between child anxiety and low self esteem can help you understand how you can mitigate that and create a better living experience for your child.

  1. Anxiety keeps a child on a paranoia strain

When a child believes he is a target for predation, he is overly anxious over anyone’s actions around him or her. This undoubtedly creates a heightened sense of fear and paranoia as he or she is unaware when an ‘attack’ will be launched against him or her.

If a child believes that he is irrelevant, he sees himself as less and this creates anxiety.

  1. Anxiety creates difficulty in relationships

A child who lives with a low self-esteem often has difficulty getting along with other people. This is profoundly enacted in their carved solitude.

With an increased feeling of worthlessness, a child is often self-conscious and this drastically affects their social life and ability to get along with other people.

  1. Being ill-equipped

When a child is ill-equipped to face a situation, it brings stress upon the child. Anxiety is facilitated when there is no appropriate support to take the child through that phase. This leads them to either abandon the challenge or have increased fear in trying again. Which often leads to increased failure.

A child’s failure to complete a task, brings on the child both anxiety and self doubt (low self esteem).

This anxiety can influence the brain development negatively; which brings about other myriad of issues in the end. However, this myriad as aforementioned can also be avoided.

  1. Neglect

Child anxiety and low self esteem is closely-tied together. This is highly exemplified in neglect.

Feelings always herald a person’s need. This way, a person is able to solve the need by listening to their feeling. However, when you neglect a child’s need, you condition her to perceive herself as someone that should be disregarded.

One of the major effects is that she absconds from her relationships for fear that  must be disregarded  or abandoned. This opinion about self becomes her reality. It creates a heightened sense of anxiety, as she always perceives herself as someone who must be abandoned. Ultimately, the perceptions she forms of herself, cripples their self-esteem.

5  Being Defensive

Being defensive is a sign of inordinate perfection. For a child who does not want to be lacking in perfection; as that has overtime been demonstrated to him, as a ground for acceptance. He becomes agitated or defensive whenever confrontation or mistake arises.

The relationship between child anxiety and low self esteem is such that anxiety facilitates defensiveness. To a child who suffers rebuke or criticism for making mistakes, their brain learns to connect mistakes to attack.

Therefore, at every event of mistake, the child flips and becomes highly defensive. Obviously, no child with a healthy self-esteem is afraid of making mistake. As they have already learnt that mistake is an impetus for growth.

Having had a thorough understanding on why self esteem is important in a child, ‘what causes low self-esteem in a child?’/’how can parents affect a child’s self esteem?’ and the relationship between child anxiety and low self esteem, we can now go on to discuss how to build your child self-esteem.


How can I build my child self esteem?

child self-esteem

At this step, the focus is to answer the question on “how can I build my child self esteem?” Just follow along as we roll out the list of practical solutions on how to build your child’s self-esteem. They are all easy, relatable and practical lists.

  1. Teach them to provide solutions

For a child, there is a good feeling that comes with being able to provide solutions. Or attempting new things and being successful at it. It is a big deal when a child accomplishes something new; no matter how ‘insignificant’ it might be for the adult.

The idea that they can do something they have never tried before can be a confidence booster and it makes them eager to try more. Do not prevent a child from getting involved in activities; especially new ones. While you do not want to  err on the side of caution, apply balance. Do not stifle their creativity or your child will become a mannequin.

2  Avoid Teasing Your Child

You read it right. You might be wondering what the relationship between teasing and building a child self-esteem is. Let me break it down:

Teasing your child when they reveal their authentic feeling is a crime against the child. This is because the cognitive ability that is required to process the function of ‘playful ridicule’ is not present yet.

A child’s cognitive function does not function at the same level as the adult’s cognition. Children use their authentic feeling to measure their worth, because these feelings intensely represent them.

Teasing can come in the form of disregarding or ridiculing their authentic feelings.  It communicates the wrong message, which says that they are not valid in themselves.

  1. Let A Child Know That Their Choices Are Valid

Letting a child choose and upholding her choices gives her a sense of pride and empowers her early on, in decision-making. It could be something as little as letting her choose what activity she wants to engage in on a particular day.

Her choices define her. When you take her choices seriously, she learns to take herself seriously as well. It helps her understand that her sense of value is as valid as she is.

  1. Teach Them To Make Choices

Part of the drama of growing up is having your child display a strong preference for a thing over another. Do not shut them down. All through their lives, they will be daunted with the task of making decisions.

In occasions when their choices are harmful for them, make certain to explain to them why they cannot have it. Although the child might not understand, however, do not shut down the ensuing feeling.

Ensure you do not always give them the choice or fill in the gap for them- by taking the solution to them- or shield them from learning the ropes of choices and consequences.

Learning to make choices on their own instills in them the tenacity to always pursue what they want; even if they fail at it. Rather than dealing with the frustration of waiting for things to be done for them. Do not set your child up for frustration from an early age. Teach them to fill in the gap. It hard-wires their brain with the right skill-set, and brings them confidence in anticipating tasks.

5.  Never Make A Fuss When A Child Expresses Disappointment

In expressing disappointment, a child builds his or her values. They do not just build it; they stick to it. This way, a child gets to know that their values are worth holding on to, listening to, and worth fighting for.

They get to understand that their values are worth respecting even though it does not make sense to another person.

Notice I have been consistent with the use of “values” too many times to count. This is because we cannot truly discuss  child self-esteem without discussing values. A child’s sense of value is the bedrock of their life. It is how they develop a sense of self, which in turn is their self-esteem.

child self-esteem


There is no doubt that the question on ‘how can i build my child’s self-esteem?’ has been thoroughly answered in this article. There is a guarantee that it will make a difference for you as you apply them.

Educating yourself on how to build your child’s self-esteem is a dividend that will pay off in your parenting journey because when your child is genuinely happy, you will be happy. 

It bears mentioning, that a child self-esteem is a building block from which their thoughts, decisions and actions spring. Build it with zeal. The whole idea about building a child self-esteem is to be able to foster self acceptance which will pilot the child for the rest of their lives.

As time goes on, we will do well to update this article with new information for the delight of our esteemed readers.

In the meantime, roll into the comment section and share your thoughts with us. Remember to give yourself a pat, because you are doing a lot already.

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