Our self-esteem is our sense of self-worth, this is what gives us a inward feeling of respect for ourselves and it affects how we treat ourselves both mentally and physically. Our self-esteem is what encourages us to do better, to think better and to strive higher.
1. belief and confidence in your own ability and value:
2. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.
In light of the above it is very important for us as parents to help build our child’s self-esteem and self-worth. As we are aware that how we feel about ourselves is a critical factor in life when it comes to doing anything. If we do not believe we can do something we will never try and therefore never reach our optimum potential.
So, what can we do to build our child’s self-esteem? Let’s look at some ways that we can build this in our children:
1.Tell them you love them
Every child development book promotes the notion that children learn to love themselves though the experience of being loved and appreciated by their parents. There are many examples and research that have concluded that children from abusive households are affected adversely by the behaviour of the parents and caregivers. It is really important to express our love for our children verbally and also affectionately too. We should never assume that they know that we love them or that it is obvious to them.
Tell your child what things you specifically love about them, everyone likes to hear nice things about themselves, but how much more pride and happiness does it give you when you are appreciated and commended for specific things you do. For example, you could tell your child ‘Mahsha’Allah I love it when you notice when someone is sad’ or ‘I love your sense of humour’.
2.Tell Your child you will always love them no matter what
Tell your child that even when you are cross or unhappy with him you will still love him. Explain that there are some types of behaviour that you do not like, but that will never take away how much you love him. Your child needs to know that your love for them is not conditional upon anything, no exam result, no extra-curricular activity or anything else.
3. Share the positive effects your child has on your life
Make a point of letting your child know what a positive difference they make to your life, how their coming in to your life has enriched your life and brought you so much happiness.
If your child has given you a new meaning in life, made you see things differently or helped you change in some way, then be very open in telling your child about this and how being a parent to them has changed you for the better.
4. Come down to their level
Come down to their level both physically and intellectually, bend down or sit on the floor next to them. It is particularly important to take extra care in doing this when the child is having anxiety or behavioural problems. By altering your physical position, you are showing your child that they are worthy of your empathy and special attention.
Also ensure that you talk to your child on their level too, use simple examples and take care to not bombard them with adult vocabulary or expressions the child will not be familiar with. A good way to check if they understood what you have told them is to simply ask them to explain what you told them in their own words.
5. Encourage self-care in children
Encourage your child to do things that help them feel good about themselves, this may not necessarily be the most enjoyable thing to do but these will be things that are good for your child and help them in everything in life. For example, sleeping earlier is a form of self-care, eating healthy, exercising and relaxing when we are tired. Reading books that we enjoy and learning new things that interest us other than our school and madrasa work is also another form of self-care.
We need to demonstrate to our children through our own good example and show them how to look after themselves both physically and mentally.
6. Make some ‘quality time’ for your child
This one may be difficult if you have very small children, but try your best to make a little one to one quality time where you are dedicating some of your time towards one particular child. Make it clear to your child that this is special time just for them and although it will not be very long it will be time just for you and her/him. Allow your child to choose an activity or something they would like to do and then use this time to bond with your child.
7. Value your child’s opinion
As your children grow older involve them in your decision making and let them get involved with certain things. Ie, the décor of the house, summer trips, etc. Get them involved by asking questions such as:
‘What do you think?’
‘I would like your opinion on….’
‘I would like you to help me out with …’
Then also tell them things like:
‘Insha’Allah you are going to make such a positive difference to the world’
‘Insha’Allah you will do so well in life’
‘Im so proud of you’
Self-esteem and self-worth are characteristics that we take from our parents and then pass them down to our children. Being consciously aware of this means that we are able to hone in on our weaknesses and improve ourselves for the sake of our children.
May Allah guide us and give us the ability to raise our children in the best way possible.