How to Give Your Child More Confidence
Think about the last time you started a new job. Questions flooded your mind. What will your new colleagues be like? What exactly is your role on the team? Are you going to be able to make a valuable contribution? You’re excited, but you experience a lot of self-doubt in the beginning. There are so many uncertainties. You don’t know anyone. You don’t know what your workday will look like. You don’t even know exactly where your desk will be. It’s never easy to start something new.
Now consider what it would be like if you constantly faced totally new and unfamiliar things at your job. As soon as you got the hang of one thing, everything shifted and you had to start over again. When you stop to think about it, the first years of a child’s life are kind of like having an ever-changing job. As soon as a child masters one skill, there’s a new one waiting to take its place. Think how hard a baby works to learn to roll over. Then they have to figure out how to crawl, but that’s just the beginning. Walking comes next. And we’re only talking about how to get around. What about the challenges of interacting with parents and siblings, learning how to talk, going to school, making friends? The list goes on and on. It’s a wonder that we don’t all become completely overwhelmed and give up!
You’re there to help your child navigate all of the challenges and self-doubt that come with growing up. By helping your child build their self-esteem, you’re setting them up for success and protecting them from the risk of sexual abuse. Perpetrators often target children that are lonely and isolated. And, if sexual abuse has occurred, building up your child’s self-esteem is especially important and challenging. Research has shown that low self-esteem can be one of the most common long-term effects of abuse.1
As a parent, you can do a lot to build your child up. One expert notes, “To the question, ‘what are the most important influences on self-esteem?’, the simple answer is parents.” Stanley Coppersmith identified four specific ways that parents can build children’s self-esteem.1
Accept your child and show affection.
Communicate and model clear standards.
Base discipline on explanation rather than force.
Invite children to express views about family decisions.
Kids with high self-esteem are confident and autonomous, which makes them a harder target for a potential perpetrator. Help your child see themselves as the talented and capable individual you know they are.
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