Foster Parent Resource Center

Building Your Child's Self Esteem

Foster care mother with girl A child's sense of self-worth is a major factor in deciding their future. How they feel about themselves will affect their choice of friends, how they get along with others, and how they develop their potential. Their self-esteem influences all aspects of their lives.

Your child's self-esteem is a precious thing and should be handled with great care. It is crucial for your child's healthy development and future well being. It also has a great deal to do with how your child behaves now and later.

Here are some helpful hints to foster a sense of self-worth while protecting a child's self-esteem:

  • Don't call children names or label them with derogatory words.
  • Don't use sarcasm.
  • Avoid talking about your children within their hearing. Even if the story is cute, it might be embarrassing to your child.
  • When things go wrong, focus on the behavior that is unacceptable, not the child.
  • Compliment, praise and encourage.
  • Praise without words. Smiles and hugs are always well received by young children.
  • Avoid compliments with riders, like, "You did this well but..." or "Fine, now if you would only..."
  • Use praise that lets children know that they have been helpful.

Here are some helpful hints to help you build confidence in your child:

  • Cherish the child's individuality.
  • Avoid comparing a child to other children.
  • Don't do things for children that they can do for themselves.
  • Let children answer some of their own questions.
  • Spend time with them and let them see that you enjoy being with them.


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