April 30, 2012 —

As parents we strive to make sure that our children feel valued. When a child has high self-esteem, it empowers them to become more confident and more likely to say no to the pressures they may face from their peers like drug abuse or other risky behaviors.

One way that I help build my daughter’s self-esteem is by making it a point to give her three compliments a day. I make sure that I build her up, so that it’s hard for her to feel anything but good about herself. I do this in hope that if someone has something negative to say to her or towards her, she can hear my voice saying good things, and will be able to ignore the negative words from others. By giving her compliments and positive reinforcement, it allows her to feel good about herself through any adversity.

For me, the positive reinforcement from my home and my family always made me search for positive people and groups outside of my home life. I feel the one place a child should feel good about themselves and feel loved and cared about is at home. By making an effort to talk with your child about their lives and the issues they face, boosting your child’s self-esteem can also help you build your relationship with them. So I make it a point to have real, open conversations with my daughter. Once your child sees that you are complimentary and positive towards them, they are less likely to shy away from conversations with their parents – and can feel more comfortable talking about the negative things that happen during their day, too. The more you talk with them, the more likely they are to open up to you about tough subjects or peer-pressures they may be facing.

When I’m in my community talking with other parents, I like to remind them to make it a point to have open conversations with their teens. Don’t miss an opportunity to talk with your child, and take advantage of the times when your child wants to talk. I have seen kids who start becoming loners, or say that no one likes them and are non-communicative. Many may do this because they don’t feel good about who they are. These kids are also more likely to get into a group that takes them in when no one else will, and that group is usually the type of group that can and will lead your child into doing things that they would not normally do. This is why it is imperative to be the voice in our children’s head, because if you are not, someone else could be.

We must stay positive in our approach to parenting to build and strengthen the relationships we have with our children. Low self-esteem can lead to behavioral problems. How teens value themselves and the decisions they make all stem from their self-image. As parents, it is our job to help our children feel good about themselves, provide them with the guidance they need, and encourage the right behaviors.