Good Self-Esteem

Your child’s self-esteem is very important to us

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, it’s a big part of our mission as your child’s healthcare provider to help your child develop and maintain positive, healthy self-esteem. We look forward to working with you and your child throughout the years to nurture good self-esteem and to come up with solutions when issues arise.

Above all, we’re here for you and your child, with information, advice and guidance so your child and your family can be as healthy and happy as possible.

How to help your child develop a healthy sense of self-esteem

For positive self-esteem, children need to develop some or all of the following characteristics:

A sense of security. Your child must feel secure about himself/herself and the future. (“Where am I going?” “Do I matter?”)

A sense of belonging. Your child needs to feel accepted and loved by others, beginning with your family and then extending to groups: friends, schoolmates, sports teams, religious organizations and neighborhoods or communities. Without this group identity, children can feel lonely and without a “home” or “group.”

A sense of purpose. Your child should have goals that give him/her purpose, direction and an avenue for achievement and self-expression. Without a sense of purpose, children can feel bored, aimless and resentful when parents or other authority figures try to push them in certain directions.

A sense of personal competence and pride. Your child should feel confident in his/her ability to meet the challenges of life. This sense of personal power evolves from having successful life experiences in solving problems independently, being creative, and getting results for efforts. Setting appropriate expectations, neither too high nor too low, is critical to developing a sense of competence and confidence.

A sense of trust. Your child needs to feel trust from you. It’s important for you to keep your promises, be supportive and give your child opportunities to be trustworthy.

A sense of responsibility. Intentionally give your child opportunities to show what he/she is capable of. Allow him/her to take on tasks without you checking in all the time. This demonstrates trust on your part, a “letting go” due to faith in your child’s abilities and competency.

A sense of contribution. Your child will develop a sense of importance and commitment when he/she has opportunities to participate and contribute to something in a meaningful way. Encourage your child to volunteer in a cause, group or activity that’s important to him/her.

A sense of making real choices and decisions. Your child will feel empowered and in control of events when he/she is able to make important decisions.

A sense of self-discipline and self-control. As children strive to gain more independence, they need to feel they can make it on their own. Give them opportunities in which to test themselves, reason, problem-solve and experience the consequences of their actions. This kind of self-awareness is critical for future emotional growth.

A sense of encouragement, support and reward. All children need positive feedback and recognition — messages that they are doing a good job and becoming mature. Encourage and praise them, often, not only for achieving a goal but also for the effort it took.

A sense of accepting mistakes and failure. Your child needs to feel comfortable, not defeated, when he/she makes mistakes or fails. Explain that these hurdles or setbacks are all part of life, and that the lesson learned can be beneficial going forward. Try to counter any feelings of failure, guilt or shame with praise, acceptance, and encouragement.

A sense of family self-esteem. Your child’s self-esteem begins in your family and therefore is greatly influenced by the perceptions your family has of itself. Family pride is essential to self-esteem and can be nourished and maintained in many ways, including family involvement in community activities, tracing your ancestors and valuing relationships with relatives. Families function best when members focus on each other’s strengths, avoid excessive criticism, respect individual differences and show their affection for each other. All this leads to good self-esteem.