Building Self Esteem!
Have you ever felt hopeless and inadequate? Well, many of my students after trying and not getting the desired results feel like this. Imagine feeling this weary for most of the day. Not just for an hour but an entire day! It cannot be easy. It\’s important to encourage activities and thinking that will improve your child\’s self-esteem.
The fact that they have so many resources on and offline does not make it easy. In fact, it makes it more difficult as they do not know where to start. This can lead to anxiety and low self-esteem. For teenagers, this can be even more difficult. The fact that their entire body is going through changes which they have to deal with on a daily basis does not help with their overall well being and self-esteem.
Many students with low self-esteem will proclaim, \’I am not good at maths\’ or \’I\’m not good at sport\’. They do not realise they can improve in maths and sport. These qualities are not fixed at birth, but develop with life and life skills. It is about perseverance and understanding what you are doing incorrect and correcting it. It is about challenging yourself and endeavouring to ignore the negativity or any discouragement from others. It is about not comparing yourself to others but setting your own bench mark and adhering to it. It is about being flexible and knowing that sometimes we are just going to fail, but they must pick themselves up, dust themselves down and try again.
Here is my list on how to encourage children to succeed academically
1: Never compare your child\’s academic performance to yours. \’I am good at maths so that is why they are\’ or \’I am bad at maths that is why they are\’. There is no scientific research to prove this. This will impact on what a child perceives they can do. Give them the space to develop their own skills and to find out what they can do – not what you can or cannot do! The chances are the reason they are good at the subject you are good at is because you have inadvertently taught them the about the subject and its positive aspects.
2: Listen carefully to what they are saying. Maths for example, cover so many topics. I doubt very much they have an issue with all. Explain to them, that some topics just my take them longer to learn than others. It may mean they need additional help from a tutor, after school club or to increase their independent learning. This will help raise their self-esteem.
3: Encourage your child to be an independent learner. They do not have to wait for a teacher to cover a subject. If they are in secondary school, they should be able to read around a subject. They may not understand it entirely, but they will have a good head start. This means that when the subject is covered at school it will not be alien to them.
4: Encourage your child to give the subject/ topic a chance! They should not give up. Would they give up trying to get to the next level for a computer game? Probably not! Help them to see the bigger picture. What they are endeavouring to learn is only a small part of their life. If they do not get it the first time around then it is just a matter of being patient and continuing to learn until they do get it!
Watch this video it gives insight into harmful attempts
to boost self – esteem !
5: Many parent state that their child will not listen to them. Well you must stop talking and listen to your child. Ask them how they are going to fix the problem. Ask them how you can help. Give them some tips. Let them take control of the situation and get themselves to a place where they are not only independent learners, but independent thinkers. You may need to assist with in this journey to independence, but it can be done in time.
6: Get them into the habit of forming a routine. Encourage them to set a time each week to dedicate to the subject they are having issues with. Tell them that little and often is the best way to learn. Encourage them to stick to this time for two months and then show them how much they have done in that time. Little and often is the key to success. Trying to remember all of a topic in two weeks is impossible for most of us. Little and often will help children to retain the information as it will be sent to their long-term memory.
7: If your child is under 14 teen there is a great book by Matthew Syed called \’ You Are Awesome\’. There are activities in here that help with a child\’s self-esteem and will get them thinking about situations and themselves. This book inspires young people to dream big. It uses examples of personalities that have struggled and made it.
I am not an advocate of our celebrity driven culture but the book does a good job of endeavouring to give young people hope by siting some celebrities as models of what can be achieved. It advocates with hard work and determination anything is possible. I would state it is not always about working hard, but working smart that brings success. The book advocates a growth mindset – whereby children look beyond what they know and try to think how they can achieve things they did not feel possible.
8: Teach your child to learn from their mistakes. There is no point in making a mistake and continually doing it. Children need to be able to reflect on what they have done incorrect and set a plan or at least have an idea of how they are going to change it. Teach them that mistakes are part of life and the true test of learning and developing is how we come back from our errors. By doing this they are taking a positive outlook on life and this in turn will help you raise your child\’s self-esteem.
9: Teach children that asking for help is not a negative quality. It is a great quality. Look at how many successful businesses have become rich from asking for help! It is obviously right thing to do! They recruit people to help with jobs which in turn makes them money. Yes, the relationship between a business owner and staff is one of the staff helping the boss – many people fail to realise this. Yes, the boss helps them by paying but it has to work both ways in order to benefit both parties. Henry Ford could not have made all the cars he produced without help. Teach your child that asking for help is a way to empower themselves by getting solutions and guidance to issues or problems they may have.
10: Explain to your child that time to relax and de-stress is an important part of their life. They should spend time with their friends, chatting, laughing and doing extra curriculum activities that they enjoy. Life is about living for all age groups. They should experience the rich and wonderful life we have and how beautiful life can be if you just take control of it. This will lead to a greater sense of sell being and self-esteem.
Not all things are equal. Teach children to prioritise what is important and what is less important. If they can see this then, they will not be under so much stress and they will endeavour to take the advice you give them. If everything seems so important and overwhelming then this will have a negative impact on their self-esteem and their academic success.