Seth Stutman – CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) How can you grow your child’s self esteem? Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio, Author, Family Therapist, Health and Wellness Executive shared his tips.
Never attack your child personally:
- Imagine what it feels like to be called dumb, stupid, lazy, weak, or any other name by your mom or dad.
- Make a commitment to never verbally assault your child.
- It helps to give your child feedback so they develop positive behaviors-“shhh, we need to be quiet in the library; remember, it’s important to pet the puppy very gently because he’s so little”- but personal attacks/name calling only hurts them.
Notice your child’s positive behavior and compliment her or him on these:
- I like the way you share your toys with your little brother.
- I see the way you pay attention to the game even when you’re all the way out in left field-way to go!
- You got a gold star on your math homework-that’s great work!
Give them words they can hang onto that describe their strengths:
- You’re a loving big brother.
- You’re a good team player and you’re good at paying attention.
- You know how to take responsibility for getting your homework done.
Do not give your child untruthful or exaggerated compliments as this distorts their ability to accurately assess their own attributes and skills. It never helps to say things that lessen your child’s grasp on reality.
Affirming your child’s self-esteem in the ways described above does not negate the need to also give your child constructive feedback. We all benefit from constructive criticism when it’s delivered in a way that is indeed constructive and not hurtful.