My Daughter Struggles With Self-Esteem, So I Do These 10 Things to Make Her Feel More Confident
Several years ago, my 5-year-old was in a very dark place in her life. At the time, she was having difficulty with school and she was in the process of being diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). She was suffering from depression, and it took a toll on her self-esteem. As you can imagine, it was heartbreaking for me to see my precious little girl in so much pain — pain that she couldn't explain and I couldn't understand.
While other kids her age were enjoying being carefree at the playground after school, my child was having a meltdown in the psychologist's office, screaming that she wished she was never born and that I deserved a better daughter. After many appointments with the psychologist, behavioral therapy, and countless sleepless nights just crying and praying for my little girl, she was finally able to beat her depression and come into the light.
Over the years, I've made it a point to do certain things for my child to help her have the self-esteem and self-confidence I'm happy to say she has in herself today. If you have a child who struggles with these issues, here are 10 easy ways to help them feel good about themselves every single day.
Leave Encouraging Notes
Leave positive and encouraging notes for your child to find. I leave notes in my child's lunch box every day that say things like "You are berry sweet" and "Have a soup-er day!" She enjoys getting a surprise every day and it makes her feel special, which can be especially important if she's having a rough day at school. You can also leave notes for your child in their school planner, sports bag, etc., or at home on the bathroom mirror to make sure they start their day with a smile.
Enroll Them in an Activity They Love and Excel In
There's nothing quite like boosting a child's self-confidence and them knowing they're amazing at something an average person can't do. We enrolled my child in karate and ballet, but they weren't good fits for her and she left feeling discouraged and disappointed in herself. But when she discovered she was a natural at theater, it was a game changer. She enjoys being in the spotlight and her "fans" fawning over her great performances.
Let Them Teach
Let your child share their talents and teach others. My daughter is an incredible artist and we frequently have drawing lessons at home in which my daughter teaches her little sister and myself how to draw different things. She delights in the fact that she's the one teaching her mom a thing or two — and she's much better at it!
Let Them Help
Knowing that they're able to help others and make a difference in someone's life is a great self-esteem booster for children. My child is constantly looking for ways to help, whether it's picking up liter at school or helping a small child cross the monkey bars at the playground. This results in my child being a great role model for others, which is also an incredible self-esteem booster.
Brag About Them
Brag and gloat (politely) about how wonderful your child is and how proud you are of them — and most definitely let them see and hear you doing it! They might act like they're embarrassed by it, but the truth is they're secretly enjoying every second of it.
From the big to the small, always make it a point to find something positive to compliment them on. Whether you're telling them how impressed you are with how they got right to completing their homework after school or how you appreciated them taking the time to play a game of Candyland with their little sister, always let them know how much you value and appreciate them. It means the world to them that you notice both the big and small things they do.
Make a Big Deal Out of Small Accomplishments
This is a big one, particularly if your child struggles in certain areas. What may not seem like a big deal to you or their peers, it is a huge deal to your child. If your child struggles socially, for example, make sure they know how proud you are of them for asking a kid at the playground to play with them. If they struggle with public speaking, celebrate the fact that they were brave enough to face their fear and give their history report in front of the entire class. No accomplishment is too small to be recognized and praised!
In your home, show off your child's talent and accomplishments to help boost their self-esteem. Many parents post a great test score their child earned or a nice picture their child drew on their refrigerator, which is wonderful, but I like to take it a step further. I put my child's artwork in picture frames and use them as home decor. My child loves it because it makes her feel like she made a real piece of art that her family loves and values.
Being there for your child — I mean, really being there — can do wonders for your their self-esteem and self-confidence. When your child is telling you about their day, listen and respond with heartfelt thoughts, understanding, compassion, and words of wisdom. Take time out of your day to spend quality time with your child. Put the phone away. No texting. No Facebook. Nothing but you and your child. Enjoy them and let them enjoy you. Giving them your undivided attention, even if all you're doing is cuddling on the couch and playing with their hair, can warm your child's heart and soul like nothing else.
Get Them Help
Don't ever feel defeated, ashamed, or embarrassed about getting your child professional help. As parents, we try our best to help our children, but we can only do so much sometimes. Don't be afraid to seek a trained professional, like a child psychologist, to help your child sort out their big and powerful thoughts and feelings. My daughter speaks with a child psychologist frequently and it's one of the best things we could have ever done for her.