How to Improve Your Child's Self-Esteem

Emmanuel Abimbola

Emmanuel Abimbola

Contributing Writer
Updated Oct 03, 2022
How to Improve Your Child's Self-Esteem

Children are naturally inclined to study and follow the ways of their parents. Some kids even imitate their parents verbatim; they talk, walk, and carry themselves as their parents do. This is why it is important to set good examples for your child at all times. 

As a Christian parent, you have a significant role to play in building your child's confidence. It is your responsibility as parents to raise your child in the ways of the Lord. You must also be aware that, as children of God, your kids must be brave and confident in Jehovah at all times. 

One way to make your children firm in their faith and able to overcome the tactics of the devil is by building their self-esteem in the true God whom you have raised them to believe in. 

Kids who have low self-esteem are easily lured into ungodly acts. When a child doesn't have healthy self-esteem, such a child will be willing to do anything to get along with the crowd whichever way they go. 

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is how children see themselves—including what they think of themselves and their ability to do things. Your child's self-confidence is shaped by how much they feel loved. Their self-esteem is also influenced by the level of support and encouragement or criticism they receive from the people in their lives, like parents and teachers.

Being self-confident does not mean thinking that the world revolves around you or that your needs are more important than those of other people. Likewise, healthy self-esteem is not arrogance, narcissism, or entitlement. Balance your child's self-esteem with other important values such as empathy, kindness, good manners, charity, and a sense of gratitude.

Why Does My Child Need Strong Self-Esteem?

Your child needs to have sound self-esteem for the following reasons:

First, it makes them confident in being themselves and comfortable in their skin.  When your child is confident in his or her personality, they won't desire to live a fake life or try to live as someone they are not. 

Today, we have so many insecure children and teenagers who do not appreciate themselves. The feeling of imperfection has eaten them up, and they do all kinds of horrible things just to blend in with society. Such kids make ungodly celebrities their role models and will not listen to their parents. It is your duty as a parent to always remind your child how special and blessed they are and that they are wonderful the way God made them. This reassurance will give them high self-esteem.

Second, when your child has healthy self-esteem, they learn to tolerate others and acknowledge their shortcomings without feeling ridiculed. They can listen to other people's opinions without feeling intimidated, and they can articulate their views when challenged. Having self-esteem helps your child open up and accept new challenges bravely. This way, they are confident when confronted with new challenges rather than backing out for fear of failure. Children with high self-esteem aren't afraid of uncertainty and are more resilient to failure than those with low self-esteem.

Last, a child with high self-esteem always thinks on their feet when in any difficult situation. They are brave and will quickly figure out the right step to take in any situation when on their own, giving you more confidence in them when you are away.

Now you know what good self-esteem means and why it is of utmost importance to build your child's self-esteem, here are some effective ways you can restore, build, or improve your child's self-esteem:

1. Set Your Child Up for Success

The first step in building your child's self-esteem is to set them up for success by creating opportunities for them to succeed. You can achieve this by creating meaningful and productive tasks which you believe will set them on the path to success. When your child eventually succeeds on this path, their self-confidence will increase. And when this happens, don't stop; make it a regular practice. Make it a habit to celebrate with them every time they succeed, and reward them positively. 

**Special Note: For big accomplishments, tangible awards will go a long way to make them proud and confident every time they see them.

Positive verbal praises also work for kids of all ages—don't be stingy with this. Shower your child with positive remarks even when they have performed averagely. Sometimes, kids judge themselves when they are not impressed by their performance. You are not expected to make them feel worse about this; rather, try to find a valid reason to commend their efforts. These positive comments help to build their confidence in ways you cannot imagine. And they will be eager to do even better next time. 

2. Encourage Independence and Control

While kids are growing, they will find themselves in situations where they must be independent. As parents, you must accept that you cannot always be there for them, even if you want to. Therefore, you must learn to teach them to be independent at an early age. Teach them to take care of themselves whenever the opportunity comes up. Whether you like it or not, your child has to do some things alone. It's important to allow your child to grow more independent, and by doing so, you get to unlock their confidence.  

Let your kids figure out how to express themselves about any problems on their own. Let them organize their books, wardrobe, and toys by themselves. This way, you train them to be more confident in themselves, and the best part is you will also feel more confident in them when they are alone.

Empower them with the words of God. Fortify them with scriptures like Joshua 1:9: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." With verses like this in their hearts, they will be confident and brave no matter the challenges they face. 

Also, encourage your kids to advocate for themselves. Let them know it is okay to ask questions when they are confused or face any challenge. Don't always jump in to rescue them before they learn for themselves. Act only when you feel your child is most vulnerable. Keep in mind that you can't control every experience your child has.

3. Pay Attention to Them and the Company They Keep

Love is the greatest gift you can ever give a child. As parents, the best way to keep your child motivated is to show them that you love and cherish them daily. Start building your child's self-esteem at an early age. It is unacceptable to make your child feel less loved because of a mistake or inappropriate behavior from you. When your child misbehaves, it is wise to deal with such bad behavior, but do so in a way that won't make them feel less loved. 

While you are working to improve your child's self-esteem, you must also consider the kind of friends they keep. Make sure they keep the company of those who will add value to their lives, both morally and in other aspects of life.

4. Teach a Positive Attitude toward Failure 

Teach your child that it is okay to fail sometimes.

Make them understand that failure does not imply that they are bad or inadequate; it only means they can practice and try again. Every child hates failure, and they take it differently; let your child understand that failure is a part of life and not something to be disturbed about. 

Some kids are very conscious of the outcome of their endeavors and hate losing, so they avoid it at all costs, even if it requires them not to attempt. They are scared of reproach or mockery from their peers or society. As parents, you must be mindful of your reactions, remarks, and attitude toward your child in times like this. 

When a child fails in any given situation, instead of speaking negatively of them, encourage them with positive reinforcements. Encourage them to get back on their feet, and support them to keep trying until they succeed.

By doing so, your child will develop a positive attitude toward failure, and instead of quitting or backing out of challenges, they will have the confidence to face challenges with a strong will to succeed. 

(Even if they fail, they will not be put down or quit; they will rise above the challenges with their heads up high.) 

5. Lead by Example

If you teach your child to develop self-esteem, you too must have it in abundance. As parents, the more comfortable and secure you feel about yourself, your job, and your family, the more secure and comfortable your children will feel about themselves too.

Children are naturally inclined to study and follow the ways of their parents. Some kids even imitate their parents verbatim; they talk, walk, and carry themselves as their parents do. This is why it is important to set good examples for your child at all times.

Also, work with your children rather than using words only. Set goals with your child and work with them to achieve these goals together. 

This will help them learn faster and effectively build their confidence. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Rawpixel

Emmanuel Abimbola headshotEmmanuel Abimbola is a creative freelance writer, blogger, and web designer. He is a devout Christian with an uncompromising faith who hails from Ondo State in Nigeria, West Africa. As a lover of kids, Emmanuel runs a small elementary school in Arigidi, Nigeria.