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Self-Esteem in Children

Build Confidence and Self-Esteem in Children

Written by Russ Gadzhiev, PhD

26 June 2022

Self-esteem is how we see ourselves – what we think of ourselves and to what extent we respect ourselves. The same goes for our children. Whether our children will have good and healthy self-esteem in children will depend on many factors, including how much love, support, and encouragement they will receive from the people whom they believe to be important. And these people are usually parents and their teachers.

It should be noted that being confident and having good self-esteem does not mean being cocky or mean. It does not imply being arrogant or narcissistic either. Being confident and having good self-esteem means being sure of your abilities and yourself. It means that you know that you are capable without showing it off to others. So, one may ask, how to build self-esteem in children?

It is very important that teachers and parents help their children develop confidence and good self-esteem. Confident children will succeed in their personal and professional lives. So, what advice can we give teachers and parents who would like to help their children develop their confidence and self-esteem? There are activities to build confidence. Ensuring that you do certain activities consistent with your child is how to increase their confidence.


How to Increase Confidence in Children


Show your children that you love them

I have already mentioned that giving and showing love to your children is very important as it is one way how to increase confidence in your child. Showing and demonstrating love to your child is crucial for their sense of security and belonging. Whether they will be able to build strong and healthy relationships in the future with other people will depend on how much love you give to them. There are many ways to show love to your children. Give them a hug before they go to school. Read a book together. Tell your child your favorite memory of him. These are all great activities to build confidence in your child.

Spend time with your children

When you spend time with your children it gives them a sign that you enjoy their company. Spending time with your children is another wonderful way to increase their confidence. There is also extensive research showing that if your play with your children a lot it helps them become mentally healthier. It also helps them build solid social relationships. Children who play with their parents often are less likely to become depressed or suffer from anxiety. This fact is also substantiated by extensive research.

Teach your children to be responsible

Giving them tasks that will help them feel that they are responsible for something is another way how to build confidence. It is important to remember that you need to give them age-appropriate tasks that will be neither difficult nor too easy. When your children complete these tasks, they will have a feeling of accomplishment and, most importantly, a sense of purpose.

There are many tasks and chores that you can assign to your children. Some of them include setting the table, vacuuming their room, washing the dishes, gardening or even washing the car. Or give them any task that they are interested in doing. Giving them tasks is one way how to boost your child’s confidence.

Also, remember that if your children did not manage to do the task well you should not scold them. Instead, let them know that you appreciate what they have done. Give them praise and reassurance that with time and experience they will be able to do better.

It is important to remember that if our children have chores to do they have a sense of being able to control their lives too.

Encourage your children to be independent

Don’t do things for them. Remember that during their school years children are learning how to be independent and you should help them during this process too. For example, many children don’t need to be supervised all the time. They can walk to school and back home alone. They also help their younger brothers and sisters (if they have any).

Encourage your children to be even more independent. Allow them to resolve small issues at school with their teachers on their own (here you need to be reasonable of course). Encourage them to do their homework without your help. Encourage them to pack their school bag without your assistance and so on.

Some parents are guilty of “helicopter parenting”. “Helicopter parenting” is a style of parenting, wherein parents pay very close attention to what their children are doing. Such a parenting style undermines children’s confidence and self-worth. It has a negative impact on their self-esteem in children too. So, if you are a parent, who likes to “hover around” your child to protect them, remember that you are robbing them of their autonomy.

Don’t insult your child

Although this piece of advice may seem obvious, many parents are still guilty of yelling at their children when they misbehave. Yes, it can be frustrating when your child does something that upsets you. It is also frustrating to know that your child is causing trouble at school. No matter what they have done – don’t shame your children or yell at them. Instead, talk to them with respect and understanding. Don’t let emotions get the best of you. Make your tone of voice friendly and be respectful to your child.

Tell your child there is nothing wrong with making mistakes

Being a human being means that you will inevitably make mistakes throughout your life, no matter how hard you try to avoid making them. So, when your child makes mistakes, be patient. Don’t scold them or put pressure on them.

Instead, encourage your child to think about their mistakes in a different way. Teach them to view their mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow rather than failures. Encouraging your child to view their mistakes as opportunities will help them build their confidence and increase their self-esteem.

Guiding Children on How to be Confident at School

Now, what if your child is already a high school student and he or she is struggling with their confidence. What piece of advice can you give to them to help them increase their confidence in this case? So, this is the advice that you can give to your child as a parent:

Step out of your comfort zone

When you feel shy about a school event or a party, avoid the temptation to hide away from everything and everyone. Hiding in the corner will only further undermine your confidence and self-esteem. Try to overcome your fear and, at least occasionally, try to do something that you have always been afraid to do. Talk to a new person or dance, for example.

Realize that your negative thoughts about a particular situation are not the reality

Try to understand that when you think too much about something negatively, you only further feed your insecurities. Learn to recognize negative thoughts and deal with them. Of course, it is a skill that takes time and practice. But once you learn how to deal with your negative thoughts and ignore them you will feel that your confidence is growing.

Don’t be too strict on yourself

High school is a difficult time. This is the time when you are growing as a person. Remind yourself of the good qualities that make you a good person. No matter what you think about yourself, you do have many qualities that make you a good person. Think about them and make a list of them. And then whenever you feel that your confidence is down, look at this list again and remind yourself of what a great person you are.

Try wearing something that makes you feel confident. Do you have a favorite t-shirt or shoes? If you feel like you feel confident in them, wear them!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class

Don’t stay silent in a hope that someone else will raise their hand and ask your teacher the questions you wanted to ask! Do it yourself! Raise your hand and ask these questions! If you are still afraid to ask questions, then try to plan of asking at least one question a week. Soon you will get into the habit, and it will be a lot easier for you!

Becoming confident will take time but with practice and a positive mindset, it is surely possible. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and remember that everybody makes them. Learn new things, and make positive affirmations. Make new friends, put yourself out there, and don’t forget to start a conversation with new people at school and you will see how your confidence is becoming stronger.


Russ Gadzhiev obtained his Ph.D. in history and politics from the University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia who effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. His background includes teaching, mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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Chris is from Devon, in the south of England. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for over six years and has taught in China, the UK, Hungary and Spain. He has a background in Music and studied Composition at the RSAMD in Glasgow, Trinity Laban in London and at the University of York. After finishing his master’s at York, he travelled to China to teach and fell in love with it. He has been teaching ever since.

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