|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.