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Growth and Development: Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a person's core belief about himself or herself. A person's self-esteem is reflected in his or her actions, both in how as well as what he or she does. Although self-esteem varies from time to time, the pattern usually leans toward a healthy or unhealthy view of self. With healthy self-esteem, a person is more likely to succeed in life.

Although building self-esteem is a lifelong process, the foundation of self-esteem is established in childhood. That foundation can do much to help a child deal with difficult life issues as they are encountered.

Parents have the greatest influence on a child's belief about himself or herself. Letting your child know that he or she belongs, is doing well, and is contributing can help him or her develop healthy self-esteem.

Keep these things in mind as you raise your child.

  • Children sense that they belong by the way their parents talk to them and act toward them. Show and tell your child that you love and care for him or her.
  • Children learn about how well they are doing by how their parents react to their behavior. Offer praise at least twice as often as you criticize (and try for four times as often).
  • Children learn how to work with others by learning how to cooperate within a family. Give your child some age-appropriate household responsibilities.

what.gif What helps a child develop healthy self-esteem?
why.gif Why should you help your child develop healthy self-esteem?
how.gif How you can help your child develop healthy self-esteem
where.gif Where to go from here

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ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last RevisedApril 6, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 06, 2012
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.

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