So she can be the best version of herself!
Every parent wants to raise a child that truly loves herself. It can feel difficult, even impossible, to do that in a society that seems to constantly put her down. But there are things you can do to help her with self-esteem building. Here are a few parenting tips on how to build up self-love in your young queen.
1. Don’t Compare Her to Others
Your daughter meets and interacts with many types of people every day, especially if she is of school age. It may be difficult for her not to compare herself to them- and you may find her asking, are my classmates smarter than I am? Are they better than I am at sports? There are a million ways for her to feel inadequate when she compares herself to others.
What’s key is that you don’t reinforce those thoughts. Rather than telling her that she’s worse or better than her friends, her classmates, or her siblings, remind her of what makes her special- her talents, her strengths.
2. Teach her to affirm herself.
Especially for younger children, it is important to start this practice early. When you say things to your daughter to build her up, also encourage her to repeat those things to herself. She can do this effectively through play - reading an empowering book, playing with a puzzle or even her favorite toy. Words are powerful. Teach her the importance of building herself up emotionally and this is something that will serve her throughout her life.
3. Let Her Make Choices
This one can be tricky. It’s easy to want to make every decision for your child: it simplifies your life, and it helps you to know that she’s safe. But a girl that’s never allowed to make choices for herself in her early life is going to grow up to be someone who doesn’t feel confident in making the bigger decisions she’ll inevitably come across. Allowing your daughter to make little decisions, like whether she wants milk or orange juice with her breakfast, or what shirt to wear to school, helps her to feel empowered. That’s a recipe for independence and confidence she’ll carry throughout her entire life
4. Let Her Make Mistakes
The flipside of letting her make her own choices is that sometimes, things will backfire. Not everything she does is going to turn out perfectly. What’s important is that she understands that mistakes happen, and that they don’t define her.
One way to help her learn to accept herself even when she makes mistakes is to allow her to make them. This doesn’t mean letting her walk out into the street in front of oncoming cars. But in her life, she’s going to make mistakes.
She might forget her jacket before she goes to school. When that happens, she’ll learn a few lessons. One of these lessons is that, without a jacket, she’s going to get cold! The other one, though, is that making a mistake is not the end of the world. Perfection isn’t a reasonable standard for her to hold herself to- if she expects herself to be perfect, she’ll never be entirely satisfied with who she is. Letting her come to terms with the fact that she’s going to make mistakes will help her to feel comfortable in her own skin. She needs to know that even when she does something a little wrong, she’s still worth something.
5. Don’t Be Overly Critical: Watch your words
When she makes those mistakes, it’s important that you don’t make her feel like it’s the end of the world. In order to do that, you’ll need to hold back on some of the criticism you might have to offer. You don’t need to praise her when she spills paint on the floor, but you also don’t need to make her feel like it makes her less worthy or valuable.
This means a couple of things: it’s not a good idea to use sarcasm or overly harsh words, and it’s not cool to use language that insults who she is as a person. Rather than calling her lazy, ask her if she couldn’t work a little harder at getting her homework done. Instead of telling her that she’s not good enough, remind her of how she can grow. Remember, Words are Powerful.
6. Healthy Praise
Ultimately, positive reinforcement is one of the greatest tools you have when you want to help your girl feel confident in herself and her abilities. It does matter, however, how you choose to wield it.
One of the best things you can do as a parent is compliment her on her effort. Reinforcing the idea that her hard work is what’s important is a great way to help her build up a healthy sense of self-love. She might not always feel smart, but feeling good about the things she does, will help her understand her worth. She should know that while she can’t always control how she feels about her inherent self, she can control her own actions.
It’s also key that you help her focus on her strengths. If her mind is constantly on the things she’s not confident in, she’s not going to feel great about herself. Self-confidence comes from recognizing what you love about yourself, not from fixating on what you don’t. This is a life lesson for us all.
We hope this helped. Do any of these resonate with you? Share with us in the comments what is working for you and your child.