Building Your Childs Self-Esteem

According to researchers, most children enter school with a good sense of self-esteem (at least as defined by psychologists) and yet leave high school with a poor sense of self-esteem. What happens in those years between starting school and finishing school?

If we are to define self-esteem as "having feelings of worth or value," then people with adequate levels of self-esteem should display a sense of realistic confidence in their abilities and performance. People with low levels of self-esteem would be expected to display feelings of inadequacy, a fear of failure, a sense of being unworthy, and perhaps depression.

It is estimated that 25-35% of children have Learning Disabilities. At least 5% have Attention Disorders. All too many times during the course of their academic careers these children are labeled by teachers (or parents) as being "lazy," or "stupid." Remarks of this type are typically interpreted by the child as, "You're no good," and the self-esteem levels drop.

At least 50% of children will experience the divorce of their parents prior to turning 18 years old. Most children, for whatever reasons too complicated to go into here, will tend to place at least a portion of the blame for the parent's divorce on themselves. Since the parents are typically placed on a pedestal in the eyes of the child, the blame for the divorce cannot be placed on the parents and must be placed elsewhere, most commonly on themselves. This also significantly impacts children's self-esteem levels.

There are other important challenges to maintaining reasonable self-esteem, such as merely being "average" in a world that worships only the good looking, the good athletes, and the well-to-do.

Can too much Self-Esteem be bad for you?

Let me say here and now that inappropriately high levels of self-esteem may be worse that low levels. Levels of self-esteem that are too high lead kids to believe that they are more important than anyone else, and that they should never be frustrated by work or challenges in life. It leads young people to believe that they should always have their way. Inflated levels of self-esteem ultimately discourages children and teens from learning how to work hard, and sometimesl leads into criminal behavior. Anti-social and criminal behavior is fueled by the criminal believing that his wants and needs are more important than the needs, wants, or rights of others.

Inflated levels of self-esteem also are directly at odds with the development of one's spirituality and relationship with God. After all, who needs to develop a relationship with God when he believes that he is more important, or intelligent, or more powerful than God? People are cheated in every important aspect of their lives, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, when their sense of self-esteem is inflated.

So how can we instill appropriate levels of self-esteem in our children? Briefly, here are five key thoughts . . .

First, change the way that you look at this area of life from "self-esteem" to "self-confidence." There is a difference as wide as the sea. To "esteem" someone, including one's self, involves feelings of "reverence" or "awe" or "honor" or "glory." Words have meaning. Let's not get carried away with trying to make our kids feel good about themselves by starting to ascribe to them positions of honor normally reserved for Presidents and Kings, and perhaps for God. The majority of our society's problems are caused by people thinking that they are more important than anyone else in the world. This is not something that we really want to encourage in our children, or in ourselves.

Instead we do want to encourage self-confidence. This attribute becomes especially powerful and beautiful when paired with the virtue of self-control. Raise your children to have these two character traits, and you will have wonderful and successful children.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.

In The News:


TMZ.com

Fergie I've Got a Handle On Single Parenting
TMZ.com
Fergie is successfully juggling motherhood and career ... by bringing her little man to work with her. Fergie was at a NYC radio station Monday morning holding on to her son, Axl Jack, who's been going back and forth between mom and dad. Josh Duhamel ...
Fergie & Son Axl Enjoy a 'Date Night' After Her Split From Josh DuhamelSheKnows.com

all 57 news articles »

Parenting and the Synagogue
HuffPost
Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year and it comes rife with all the feelings the secular New Year comes with- feelings of renewal and of fresh starts and of “this year will be different”. As I sat (briefly) in synagogue, the tunes of my childhood ...


NRToday.com

Avoid helicopter parenting
NRToday.com
Helicopter parenting may seem like parents are simply being overprotective, but such an approach might have a serious impact. Many therapists say that parents need to get over being overly involved; otherwise, they risk potential psychological damage ...


HuffPost

The Only Parenting Advice I'd Dare To Give
HuffPost
My eldest started school last week. And it was time for me to think about my life. My role. My priorities. I am always holding back when it comes to giving parenting advice. But today, I feel the need to write. To share my thoughts with you. Today, for ...


NOLA.com

A little PG-13 parenting advice, from one fed-up New Orleans man
NOLA.com
Eddie Lee Johnson smiles as he poses next to a hand-lettered sign he created to ward off pesky kids in his neighborhood on the edge of Mid-City. Eddie Lee Johnson smiles as he poses next to a hand-lettered sign he created to ward off pesky kids in his ...


Foster parenting course to start
The Hutchinson News
Saint Francis Community Services will begin a 10-week course for those interested in exploring foster parenthood. The program is free and the first class is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at 501 N. Monroe St. More than 60 Reno County children must stay in ...


HuffPost

This Is Why You Need to Stop Justifying Your Parenting Choices
HuffPost
Over the past week, I've been thinking about a conversation I had with a friend recently. We were at a play date, with a bunch of other moms and their kids. The conversation turned, as it often does, to the stories of how our kids were born. I ...


UF kicks off 7-part series focused on parenting
The Courier
The University of Findlay's psychology program will be offering “Raising Kids Today,” a seven-part series of free information sessions to assist caregivers with raising children, beginning Wednesday. The talks, held in Old Main's Ritz Auditorium, will ...


Hollywood Reporter

Pamela Adlon Jokes About Parenting: "IF—ed Up" Until My Daughters Were 8
Hollywood Reporter
In real life, paparazzi have had a field day catching the actress' teen daughter Odessa's tender moments, hand-holding with new beau Jaden Smith. Teens can be a handful. Just ask Better Things co-creator and Emmy-nominated star Pamela Adlon.


Washington Post

Parenting books won't end your anxiety. Here's what to do instead ...
Washington Post
Q: As a general rule, I manage my parenting anxiety by not reading parenting books. It's too much contradictory information, and I get nuts about it. I've found that ...

and more »
Google News

Parenting Problem? 5 Simple Things That Will Help

What is a parenting problem?Parenting is a tough job, we... Read More

Top 25 Children Quotations

"You can learn many things from children. How much patience... Read More

Public Schools --- Why On Earth Do We Need Them?

From the time the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in... Read More

Top 20 Items To Pack In A Diaper Bag

1. Diapers (5 -7 is a fairly safe supply)2. Wipes3.... Read More

We All Wish That Our Children Have Good Virtues, But... Are We Setting A Good Example Ourselves?

We all wish that our children should not smoke or... Read More

Let Your Children Name the New Baby

Choosing a baby name is an important job, so make... Read More

5 Steps to Raising an Optimistic Child

I had just completed a session with 17-year old Julie... Read More

Nurtured by Love or Matured by Nature?

"There is nothing new under the sun," states Ecclesiastes 1:9.... Read More

Develop Your Childs Critical Thinking Skills

1. Encourage Questions.Don't answer every question, instead ask what do... Read More

Im a Mom, Shes a Mom: Being an Adult with Your Parents

On one of her quarterly visits to see her grandson,... Read More

Kids and Sports: Fundamentals First

Would you hand a child calculus problems once she was... Read More

School Days - Top 10 Tips for Establishing a Good Routine

Teachers know that children thrive in an environment with routines,... Read More

ADD / ADHD Children : Being Your Childs Best Friend

Do you live with an ADD / ADHD child? If... Read More

How Much Water are You Wasting?

Are you being smart about water conservation? Do you consider... Read More

The Courage to Be a Loving Parent

Most of us really don't like it when someone is... Read More

Mom, Dad and the Big Brother

Software for parental control is a useful tool, if applied... Read More

How to Get a Good Diagnosis to See If Your Child Has ADHD

Your child's teacher says that you need to find out... Read More

?Mommy, I Can?t Sleep!?: Sleep Disturbance in Children

Oh Please, Don't Say Maybe!!!!Are you often a participant in... Read More

Potty Training Caveats- Dont Start Too Soon

The First Reason: For one thing, child development experts are... Read More

Why Mother?s Day is Important For Children

Mother's Day is important for children.This Mother's Day take note... Read More

Parents/Teens and Money ? 5 Ideas for Keeping the Peace

Children and teenagers are relentlessly bombarded with merchandise that entices.... Read More

While You Have the Time, Take the Time

Here in Kansas, where we live, the leaves are turning... Read More

God Dont Like Rich People

I will never forget the day that my daughter's sixth... Read More

When Your Childs Adoption Story Changes: Nothing But the Facts or is It Nothing are the Facts?

Elana, born in Russia, was told "We really don't know... Read More

Single Mother Sanity Savers Pt. 1

Being a single mother is no easy task. I know.... Read More