Self esteem and our children
Special Features
December 1, 2006

Self esteem and our children

November 20, is observed each year as Universal Children’s Day. It is an occasion for each individual, each family, each community, each society and country to think about the state of our children and what we can do to make their lives better.

One of the things that we can do for our children is to help them develop good self esteem that influences their motivations, attitudes, behaviours, judgement and affects their emotional adjustment

A healthy self esteem is a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Children with a good self esteem will feel good about themselves and tend to handle conflicts well and are more able to resist negative pressures.{{more}}

Because the child with a healthy self esteem feels good about him or herself, they are generally more realistic and very optimistic. While those who have a low self esteem tend to experience major anxiety and frustration with the slightest challenges and have a hard time finding solution to simple problems.

If children are constantly bombarded with negative statements, such as “you’re no good, you can’t do anything right, you’re ugly, you’re a dunce” and things of that nature, they may become very passive, withdrawn or depressed, and when faced with a new challenge, the immediate response is I can’t, or the child may become very angry and disruptive and respond to new challenges with not I can’t but I won’t.

Patterns of self esteem start very early in life, but can, fluctuate as a child grows, because a child’s self esteem is affected by his experiences and new perceptions.

As a child tries something new and fails, tries again, fails again, tries and finally succeeds he or she is developing ideas about his or her own capabilities, while creating a self concept based on interactions with other people. We must therefore strive to say and do the right things to children. Proper parental involvement is key to helping a child form accurate, healthy self perceptions. It can help determine who they become.

Patterns of self esteem

Patterns of self esteem start very early in life and are frequently changed and fine-tuned along the way, therefore one needs to be able to recognize signs of unhealthy and healthy self esteem and be able to take appropriate action for both.

A child who has low self esteem may not want to try new things. He or she may often speak negatively about his or herself, saying things like, “stupid me”, “I will never learn to do things right”, “no one cares about me anyway”, “what’s the point?” Such a child may give up easily, or always waiting for others to carry out tasks he or she should, because of a low tolerance for frustration. They may also be critical of themselves and easily disappointed in themselves although they do not expect much. On the other hand, the child with a healthy self esteem is comfortable in social settings and enjoys interacting with others, and voices discontent without belittling statements.

There is much that parents can do to help to foster healthy self esteem in a child. Firstly you should be a positive role model. Nurture your own self esteem that your child can mirror. Secondly – always watch what you say. Children are very sensitive to parents’ words which are subject to their own interpretations. Thirdly – find time to discuss issues of concern to your child, and clarify any inaccurate information they may have.

It is, also important to identify a child’s rational beliefs about themselves, such as attractiveness, ability or anything else for that matter.

Be spontaneous and affectionate with your child- give hugs and praises, and let them know how proud you are frequently and honestly, (without overdoing it) create a safe nurturing home environment for your family and always remember to love and respect your child.

Sibling rilvary

Mummy – he has my truck again no – he took mine first.

Mummy – me first, me first, me first.

Sounds familiar. If you’re in a home with more than one child then you more than likely know the sounds of sibling rivalry.

Sibling rivalry is a usual part of children growing up together, competing for everything from toys to parents’ attention.

Many different things can cause sibling rivalry from some form of jealousy to competition. But this is natural for children as they change needs, anxieties and identities, all of which can affect how they relate to one another. Sometimes a great difference in age groups can create conflict as they do not share the same interest at the same time. For example preschoolers are naturally protective of their toys and belongings and are learning to assert their will. If a baby brother or sister picks up the toy, the preschooler may react aggressively.

Children also have different temperaments including disposition, adaptability and mood coupled with unique personalities. This can play a major role in how well they get along.

Modeling the behaviours and attitudes you want for your children is such a very important part of parenting.

The way parents resolve problems and disagreements set a strong example for children. If parents work through disagreement or conflicts in a way that is peaceful, respectful, productive and non aggressive, they increase the chances of the children adopting the same tactics whenever they run into problems with each other.

However, if you routinely, shout, slam doors or argue loudly when you have problems, the children are likely to pick up those bad habits themselves. Remember, example is powerful and children learn what they live, and then live what they learn.


* Equality, regardless of Race, Colour, Religion,Sex or Nationality

* Healthy Mental and Physical Development

* A Name and a Nationality

* Sufficient Food, Housing and Medical Care

* Special Care if Handicapped

* Love, Understanding and Care

* Free Education, Play and Recreation

* Immediate Aid in the Event of Disasters and Emergencies

* Protection from Cruelty, Neglect and Exploitation

* Protection from Persecution and to an Upbringing in the Spirit of Worldwide Brotherhood and Peace.

Children First!