Building Kids Self Esteem

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

I am trying something new. My kids are getting older and their self-esteem is going to be a huge factor in their success both in high school and beyond. When we moved here it was obvious that my son’s self esteem wasn’t as secure as I thought it was. He was so unsure of himself, who he was and how he’d fit in. For my daughter the opposite was true, she came out of her shell and developed more confidence in herself.

When my kids were young they found pride in themselves whenever they learned a new skill. I always gave them opportunities to learn how to do things on their own. They were proud of themselves when they learned to put on their own clothes, their own shoes and then tie those shoes (which took my son a little longer than most). They became more skilled as they figured out computer games and toys on their own. Often they would ask me how to show them how to do stuff before they even tried, I’d always say "figure it out." They almost always did. When they couldn’t then I’d step in and show them a step or two. They’ve become very capable in their own abilities.

Now that they are older, especially my son, things are different. At 10 he’s starting to care about his appearance, be interested in girls, worrying about fitting in. He’s questioning himself and if he’s good enough. So I started thinking, how can I help him love himself?

I’ve always told my kids that "I love you" on a regular basis however I think I need to do more. I’m trying to tell them why I love them and what I love about them more often. So instead of just saying "I love you," I’ll say "I love your ability to problem solve," or "I love you because you have the cutest freckles." Not just "I love your freckles" because if they don’t then they’ll just ignore it, but I’m hoping that if they know that I love them because of their cute freckles they’ll learn to value those freckles.

This new approach has made me realise all the things I love about them. I’ve had to really look at who they are and what their strengths are. I’ve had to take time to talk to them, get to know what’s important to them and then let them know that I love them because of it.

My husband doesn't agree with me and thinks "I Love You" encompasses everything so therefore it's enough. Which may be one of the reasons I don't always feel secure in his love for me.

I don’t know if this will help to build their self-esteem but it can’t hurt. I asked my daughter why she loved me the other day and she just said "because." I don’t want them wondering why I love them, I want them to know I love them because of who they are. I don’t ever want them to question my love for them or assume I love them because I have to. I want them to know that I value them for them and not because I’m their mom.

Other Online Resources for building kid's self esteem:

Kids Edge on Self Esteem

Building Your Child's Self Esteem

Child development info Website

What I want to know is why are schools catering to parents whims and fancies so much? It is as if the teachers and administration are so scared to rock the boat and offend a parent nothing ever gets done.

It's hard enough to be a teacher without having to keep parents happy. Instead of constantly complaining that the teacher isn't working out try working with them to find a solution to the problem instead. Concentrate on the teacher's strong traits and discuss what she/ he needs to help their weaker traits.

Not all teachers are good, some really should find something else to do, however, when a teacher is trying and struggling the last thing they need is parents judging them. Communication is the key, that and not flying off the handle over a story your child has told you. Misunderstandings are a result of not diplomatically talking about the issue and coming up with a solution together.

One of my pet peeves are people who complain and don't do anything to help change a situation. You know the type, they complain for the sake of complaining because they have nothing of value to say. It drives me nuts to listen to parents that sit around the school complaining about the teacher, the administration, the policies and have no understanding beyond their own needs and desires. Most policies are made because a parent freaks out over something and the school over compensates.

My hats go off to those that step up and work with teachers to make classrooms a better place. I have respect for those that volunteer their time to make the schools better. I admire those that show leadership and put in the extra effort to make a bad situation good.

Children see what parents do and they will model that behavior. What message and example do you want to show your kids? Do you want your children to grow up to become complainers or leaders? It is in all our power to be more understanding, patient, and compassionate. If we act in such a way then our children will become that way.

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.

If a child lives with recognition, he learns it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with honesty he learns what truth is.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live to love and be loved.

Who's More Important the Teacher or the Parent?

Tips on Avoiding Parent / Teacher Conflicts

I am a bad mother, at least I feel like one. Every good mother at one time or another feels that choices she has made are the wrong ones, resulting in devastation for her children. Uprooting the family and transporting them to Vancouver, BC just before my son entered grade 5 is one of those times. Had we moved just one year earlier then things would have been easier for him. Grade 5 is that time when children start caring about friends, brand names, and fitting in. My son's fears about making new friends and not fitting in has made this glaringly clear, so much so I feel like I am a bad mother.

My 10 year old son, my precious baby, is very outgoing, extremely extroverted and makes friends easily. His personality is usually a magnet to other boys who constantly find themselves at our doorstep. It is not unusual for him to bring home a new friend he met at the park or just outside our door. It's his energy, his sense of humour, and his attitude that attract many different types of boys to orbit around him waiting for his attention. At times he gets overwhelmed and shuts the door for alone time to recharge his batteries from the drain of others demands. This is why I didn't worry about him when we decided to move.

This summer there was a change in him, he became worried about fitting in, what others thought about him, carrying about brand names and interests. He began to hide his magnetic personality behind a facade of a cool standoffish personality. He started to emulate what he thought "cool" boys are and then was upset when he didn't make new friends right away. He seemed to be uncomfortable in his own skin and unsure of every decision, every thought, and of his real "self". It was heartbreaking to watch, I just wanted to grab him and crack this new shell into a million pieces so my happy go lucky boy would come back to me.

Every walk resulted in distance between us, especially if other kids were around as he retreated further into his new "cool" personality. I would watch him look at other kids, scared that he wouldn't measure up, afraid to approach them, and looking so stiff. It broke my heart, I wanted to gather him up in a hug and make it all go away, but of course that would have only made things worse for him. I felt him falling away from me building more and more walls that I couldn't get through, resulting in a lonely place for him - isolated behind what he thought would be "cool" behavior.

I broke through on one such occasion when we were hurrying into the school for a meeting and I didn't have the patience for his slow "cool" pace to put more distance between us. I was getting angry and had enough of his attitude but instead of freaking out on him I wanted to distance myself from him. I turned, looked at him and loudly stated, "on the way home we'll swing by the mother exchange center and you can get a new mom that your not embarrassed of but for now move it." He laughed, he actually laughed and caught up to me and said, "I don't want a new mommy, I love my mommy." I'm not sure why this worked but it did.

It has taken time but he's making friends at school, in activities, and at the local rec center. He still isn't the same boy who left Calgary, AB, but he's more himself lately. I can only hope that this experience will help him love his real "self" and he'll understand how wonderful he is and this "cool" attitude will be a thing of the past. I realize he is growing up and that part of the process is to grow away from me, that's the hardest part for me, watching my baby distance himself from me for the perceived benefit of other kids. God give me patience and help me to be there for him when he needs me and to give him space when he doesn't.

I always was aware my time as my son's world, sun and moon was limited. As he gained more independence I experienced contradicting emotions, pride in his growing abilities and sadness that he didn't need me 24/7 anymore. The tween years have been full of conflicting emotions, one minute he's the cuddliest, loving little boy and the next he won't walk within 10 feet of me. In the morning he'll be playing with his stuffed animals, by the afternoon he's playing it cool, and by the evening he's watching a documentary on the History Channel.

10 Things about 10 year old - Great article that outlines the amazing things about a 10 year old boy.

I thought I had a few more years before I had to deal with pimples and body odor but my 10 year old son woke up this morning with a pus pot of a zit.

I was talking to my friend the other day about puberty and she mentioned she'd bought some books for her daughter to read. Don't get me wrong, I'm an avid reader and love books but I want my kids to talk to me and be open about what's going on with them. Although, I will use books as a tool I am developing an open dialogue with him too.

I started talking to him about his body at a very early age. At night I'd ask him questions about his private parts and who was allowed to touch them. He was uncomfortable at first but I kept the tone light and we'd joke about how he was different from his sister and why his pee looked different from his dad's.

I wouldn't get technical or tell him the bird's and bee's. He know's there is something called sex from the TV but he doesn't know what it is. After all he's only 10.

By asking light questions and giving him age appropriate info about his body in different non technical ways has enabled a strong line of communication to develop. Whether he will pick up his end of the line when he has questions or issues is yet to be seen.

Being a parent is full of stresses, just when you think you have it all figured out you get a phone call. My son's schools have tested and labelled him twice exceptional. Labels, I had hoped my son would be average, even when it was very apparent that he wasn't, I didn't want him to be labelled. He hates being different and wants to be the same as everyone else. I can't blame him, isn't that what anyone wants, to be just like their friends.

When I got the call from my son's resource teacher with the latest test results I was filled with both extreme pride and foreboding. My grade 4 son, my baby, has completed grade 10 for reading ability and grade 8 for comprehension. Any parent would be thrilled to get such a call but it fills me with a feeling I can't explain. Of course I'm proud, but there is this worry, fear, and stress that won't leave the pit of my stomach.

I'm not a neurotic parent, far from it. I don't visit doctor's offices at the sign of a sniffle or the emergency room for every scrap or fall. I'm a firm believer in natural consequence, responsibility for choices, and figuring things out for themselves. I don't get rattled easily, I pride myself on handling any issue that comes my way - but every time I talk to his school I worry that he will not meet his potential and its my fault.

Working full time again has taken my focus away from my kids. Mothers always feel guilty, I mean isn't that a measuring stick of how good a mother you are? Working mothers have the added guilt of not being there all the time. This is probably the source of this feeling in the pit of my stomach the nagging voice saying I'm not good enough, I'm failing my son.

This post is from 2010

My son's school organized a shave your lid for a kid event to raise money for Alberta kids cancer care. The school is K-4, has 500 kids in it and raised over $22K. Twenty kids choose to shave their lids and one was even a girl, the daughter of my hair dresser. My son's hair was the second longest but just short of the 12" to make a wig.

I was shocked when my son wanted to shave his head. His hair was long and part of his image and personality. He wants to model and act in commercials so his hair is a huge part of his image and look. He raised $550 by going door to door and calling family for pledges.

I am so proud of him, he says he doesn't want to do it again and really wants his hair to grow back fast. We are going to bleach it and die it bright red for fun so the tips are red as it grows back. Hair is hair and it grows back - I want him to have fun with it too.

Growing up I lived in a very small town - my high school had 350 kids from Grade 8 - Grade 12. The population of the town and the surrounding area was approx 2000 people. I was 4th generation in my town and I was either my grandmother's granddaugther, my mother's daughter or my brother's sister. This is how many people knew me my identity was wrapped up in someone else's identity and not my own.

Children of successful people and celebrities may find themselves in their parents shadow and not know who they are outside of their relationship to others. It may not sound like a big deal, but identity is the center of our self and if our self is overshadowed by successful or well known individuals we may have a hard time knowing ourselves.

Children, especially teenagers, need to know who they are outside of the family unit. They need an identity of their own, successes that are theirs and not judged for not measuring up to others. Some children may feel that they are in a shadow while others don't. What the child feels is just as important as what others say so make sure that your child's view of themselves is in line with reality.

I left the small town as soon as I could and have been trying to figure out who I am ever since. I know what I don't want, I just don't always know what I do want - really want.

My daughter knows what she wants, she knows herself and although it can be difficult for me at times I never want her to lose this. My son has a more difficult time knowing what he wants and what he enjoys in life, it is my job to make sure he finds passion and direction based on his identity and not mine.

What do you do to ensure your child knows himself and knows what he wants out of life?


Sometimes as parents we say things that we really don't mean, sometimes out of fear, other times out of conditioning. Ever hear the saying "I sound like my mother"? Is your child overly sensitive or overly emotional? You really need to ensure that you respect their feelings, even if they are irrational. This takes time because you can't just dismiss them and say "get over it" or "your just being silly." To do so would make things worse and then they will be scared to open up.

If one child is more irrational or more sensitive than the other and you continue to dismiss them, you will start to drive the wedge in between them. HUH, this has nothing to do with them as siblings right? Wrong. A sensitive child can pick up on how you talk and treat the other and even if their assumptions are incorrect they are real to them, it becomes their reality, their truth. Perceived favoritism is just as real to them as actual favoritism.

So how do you avoid this? First by understanding that your child is sensitive and in tune to things he or she cannot understand. Second put yourself in that child's shoes by asking them questions about how they came to that conclusion. Continue asking leading questions getting them to quietly and calmly come to a different conclusion. Don't harp on them, don't belittle their feelings or try to make light of them. To a sensitive child these feelings and conclusions are real.

A sensitive child is a hard nut to crack because in most cases they will not open up to you and internalize everything. Every once in awhile they will say something a remark here or there that you will need to pick up and run with. By not criticizing them and helping them to understand your side or the other child's side will go a long way.

Now if your like most people you understand that when you have children your life changes and it becomes about them instead of about you. What happens though when you become so negative or so miserable that you can't stop thinking about yourself and what you want or need? For many kids their reality is living with one or more parents that think only about themselves and the misery they think their life is.

Here's the thing, you can't change someone else, you can only change you and your attitude. That's the part that sucks because now you are faced with difficult choices, change yourself and your outlook or continue down a path of negativity.

No one can make this choice for you. What you need to do though is think about your kids and the lessons you are teaching them. Do you want your children to grow up to be miserable? Do you want them to grown up negative about the world around them, worrying about every little thing? If the answer is yes, then continue on the path you are on. If your answer is no then you have to change or find help to change.

Parents need to be healthy, emotionally, mentally, and physically in order to raise healthy children. If you are broken, your children will have a greater chance at being broken. After all, we are all the product of our upbringing, the good news is that as adults we can make a conscious decision to change our outlook.

Fathers and daughters have a special relationship, one that needs to be nurtered. Yesterday my husband and my daughter spend the day together riding bikes and playing. This time that they spend together is valuable because it builds on their relationship and creates strong bonds. No relationship a little girl has will be more important then the relationship between her and her father. Each father needs to recognize this and spend the time it takes to build a strong bond with his daughter. Every daddy's girl's future relationships will depend on her bond with her dad. If she felt it was lacking she will be desperate to find any type of bond in her future relationships, if it was healthy she will look only for healthy bonds in her future relationships making sure they measure up to daddy.

Most guys don't understand how important their relationship with their daughters is, it is easier to relate to the son's and do guy stuff with them. Sitting down to a tea party and playing Barbie's isn't as fun, but just as important, it's not what your doing that matters, its that your doing it.

My husband and daughter rode their bikes to the movie store to pick a family movie for last night, they couldn't of picked a better movie. This is the ultimate in father / daughter movies. Dwayne Johnson plays Joe Kingman a star Quarterback for the Boston Rebels. Madison Pattis, from Disney TV's Cory in the House, plays his newly found 8 year old daughter Payten.

Payten is your typical 8 year old girl who Bedazzles everything and takes over Joe's bachelor pad, nothing is off limits to her regardless of what Joe thinks. Joe finds out that its not the stuff, the ego, the job but the time he spends doing the girly things with Payten that brings him closer to her and makes him happy. Finding pride in pink nail polish and happiness in combing a dolls hair is what being a father is all about.

Fatherhood is not an easy responsibility, it's easy to become a Father much harder to become a daddy. Every little girl needs her daddy's attention and love in her world because she is too little to gain entry into daddy's world but daddy is never too big to be a kid.

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