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Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the core belief people have about themselves. Healthy self-esteem helps a person to act responsibly, cooperate well with others, deal with difficulties, and have the confidence to try new things.

The foundation of self-esteem is established in childhood, although it is a lifelong process of development.

Parents are the most significant influences on a child's self-esteem. Parents promote a child's healthy self-esteem by initiating a cycle of belonging, learning, and contributing. A sense of belonging helps a child to participate in learning new things. Learning makes a child feel confident in making contributions. And making contributions helps secure a feeling of belonging.

An unhealthy self-esteem causes problems throughout life. Mental health problems, problems with other people, and lack of confidence are some of the possible consequences of low self-esteem.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as of January 11, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.