How to Encourage Positive Self-esteem in Your Child PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan True   

“My daughter is a confident child…but it hasn’t always been that way. She would get easily frustrated when she couldn’t accomplish a task and give up right away. I would then get frustrated with her for not trying hard enough and we would both walk away upset and disappointed. Then I learned a few simple tips from Triple P that helped me encourage and support her. Now she engages in new activities without prompting and we both walk away proud.”   Triple P Parent


If you are a parent, you know that parenting can be very challenging. It is often easy to get caught up in the everyday chores and tasks, forgetting about the important role we play in raising confident and resilient children. At every stage of a child’s life, parents can encourage and teach their children skills that allow them to develop the confidence to reach their full potential.


Here are some Triple P tips you can try right away to encourage a positive self-esteem and increased confidence in your child.


Encourage optimism and positive thinking. When your child is optimistic and positive, she is able to create hopes, dreams and goals for her future and is less likely to feel powerless. You can encourage optimism and positive thinking in your child by:


·       Pointing out helpful and unhelpful ways of thinking about a situation and modeling optimism. If your child hears optimistic comments from you, she will begin to think this way herself. For example, “I know I can get this task done” or “I am getting better at this, I did better this time”.


·       Talk about the good side of events or experiences and explain how thinking about the same thing in a different way can help how you feel better. For example, “You fell off your bike three times, but now you’ve learned how to balance on the bike all by yourself!”



·       Help your child set achievable goals and ask them to evaluate their effort- what did they do well and what would they like to do differently next time.


·       Tell her what she did well before pointing out what she can do better.



·       Encourage her to take initiative and participate in meaningful activities where she can experience creativity and success (such as a sport, a musical instrument, or a club).


·       Encourage your child to do self help skills by herself. While it is sometimes easier to do things for our children, teaching new skills and being patient while our children practice mastering them will help children become more capable.



·       Support your child in contributing to the family. Whether it is setting the table or planning a game, it is important that your child knows how much she belongs and has an important role in the family.


·       Encourage your child to see you as a predictable source of comfort and support. When she knows she can count on you for support, she is more likely to take the learning risks she needs to build new skills. By being calm and consistent and giving the message, “I can help you if you are having a hard time,” your child trusts you as someone important to go to as she learns new things.



When initiative is taken and there is achievement of a goal, your child will become more confident in her abilities to achieve a task.


Encourage a healthy self- esteem. Children who view themselves in a positive way are likely to generally be happy, cooperative and successful at making friends. There are many ways that you as a parent can help your child build a positive self-esteem.


·       Create a predictable world by establishing routines and responding to your children in calm and predictable ways.


·       Keep her involved and engaged in an active lifestyle by encouraging a lot of outdoor play.



·       Encourage laughter- listen to her stories and her jokes and laugh with her.


·       Smile often! Let her know you are glad to spend time and be with her.



·       Be affectionate and tell your child you love her every day. Children feel good about themselves when they know they feel loved.


·       Provide your child with descriptive praise when she has done something on her own. For example, when she finishes her homework without needing a prompt, say “nice job for starting your homework all on your own”



·       Encourage your child to set her own goals and to see her own accomplishments. When goals aren’t met, let her know that mistakes are normal and ok to make.


·       Allow your child to make decisions about her own life and include her in family decision making. It is ok if she makes mistakes; it is a good way to learn!



·       Encourage her to express her ideas and opinions by listening to what she has to say, asking questions and summarizing. Help her understand that multiple and different opinions are healthy and that you value her perspective.


Becoming a strong confident child and then adult doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right support and direction from parents, children will become confident and competent. Remember, these small changes, can make big differences!




Written by Susan True, Executive Director First 5 Santa Cruz County. If you are interested in learning more about the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) and services available, contact First 5 Santa Cruz County: visit www.first5scc.org or contact Stephanie Bluford at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (831) 465-2217.





Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:16
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