Self-Esteem matters! If this were your child or a child you care about, how would you handle things with him? Well, I don’t have kids but I sure know about them and I know how kids like this often become targets of bullying.
If you ask yourself what do you want for him or her? Be realistic okay? If your kid is short, he won’t usually become tall overnight. If he wears glasses or needs some other type of assistance, that isn’t likely to change. There isn’t any point in telling a kid that he or she is perfect because they know differently. What’s important is to do things that help a child believe in himself or herself. Their self-esteem matters and kids need to understand that the way they think about themselves is the same way that others think about them.
If you look at the picture above, you see a kid who is facing two potential bullies. Instead of the boy showing them a fearful and easily bullied kid, he is facing them and saying “Hi.” Why? Because he has a realistic knowledge of who he is and what he is about. He may not be the most popular or the most athletic or the best looking but he is who he is! He likes himself and others see that. When kids like themselves the world sees them differently!
Spend some time where parents and kids gather. You’ll hear all kinds of comments from parents like, “You were wonderful. You did the best. No one else did as well as you did.” That seems like a good thing… right?
New studies are showing that exaggerated or overstated praise can back fire especially with children with low self-esteem. What the studies found was that kids with low self-esteem were more likely to choose easier tasks after they received inflated statements of praise. Often they will be afraid of failure because so much is expected of them. The opposite is true when parents say things like, “You worked hard.”
…Researchers often refer to this constructive encouragement as process praise. Letting the child know exactly what they are doing well and noticing the detail of their work is critical. Trading ambiguous praise for detail-oriented questions lets the child know that their work is interest-worthy. When children are explicitly told what they are doing right (e.g. “good job at cleaning up the blocks”), it’s more effective in changing future behaviors and promoting improved effort. *
Maybe it’s time to think about how you praise your child!