Friday, February 15, 2013

How Do I Support or Diminish a Child’s Self-Esteem?

Playing with gel beads which help children feel calm.

Those of us who work in the helping professions have a profound affect on the self-esteem of the children with whom we interact. 
We help build a child’s self-esteem and sense of worth by doing the following:
1.    We need to accept the children we work with unconditionally. I am not talking about accepting all behaviour; I am referring to always accepting the child. We need to separate the child from their behaviour and realize that their behaviour is not their character. The children I work with know that I care deeply for them and that I unconditionally support them.
2.    We need to learn to overlook small behaviours. Knowing what behaviours to ignore and what behaviours to focus on are important in helping children develop and learn.
3.    We need to have realistic expectations. We can hope for more, want better, but we need to be realistic in the moment. I always have positive expectations for the children that I work with, but I know that growth will happen when it happens.
4.    We need to recognize effort and improvement. We need to remember the changes that the child has gone through and celebrate any movement forward.
5.    We need to appreciate the child’s uniqueness and respect their decisions.
As parents or people working in the helping professions with children, we can diminish children’s self-esteem and self-worth in the following ways:
1.    When we have conditional acceptance or rejection, we diminish children with whom we interact.
2.    When we overact to small problem behaviours.
3.    When we have unrealistic expectations.
4.    When we accept only perfection.
5.    When we hold grudges against the child.
6.    When we evaluate the child as good or bad based on their behaviour.
7.    When we expect the worst from them.
8.    When we constantly compare them to others that we see as better.
9.    When we neglect them.
10.When we get into power struggles with them.


The Creative Beast said...

Thank you for sharing how you with children in your art therapy practice Karen! The list you provide for working with children could possibly be adapted for dealing with adults in the workplace ;)
And we could all take the list to heart in working with OURSELVES...

Karen Wallace said...

Yes I agree. Hugs

Sherry said...

You had me at "unconditional" and "acceptance". I grew up in an environment of "conditional" and it groomed me for my school years and beyond. I fought it all the time because I knew that it was my "right" to be loved, appreciated and accepted unconditionally by those who loved me and those who were teaching me. The teachers who were able to do all of that unconditionally were the ones I gravitated towards. And it made me ever more vigilant that my own children would be loved, taught and respected unconditionally. Thank you for sharing how a child's self-esteem can be supported.

Harikesh Chauhan said...

his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work

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