Self-Esteem or Self-Respect?
In order to build our kid’s self-esteem, many of us have tried to praise them toward better performance.
In order to protect our kids’ self-esteem, many of us have tried to shield them away from any failed performances.
These have all been well-intentioned efforts, and I don’t want any of us to feel ashamed by what I’m about to say:
Kids feel better about themselves when they accomplish things by themselves.
Whether it’s building their first Lego house, jumping over a log, or pooping on the potty like a big boy, kids love to feel accomplished and self-sufficient. This is why 4yo Stewart on MadTV was always saying “lemme do it!” and “look what I can do!”
This is also why saying “no” to their parents feels so good as well. That word, along with their small solo achievements, represent their burgeoning self-respect, which is what actually precedes self-esteem.
By all means, praise your kids’ efforts, and protect them from life’s worst dangers, but if you want them to truly feel confident about themselves in this world, also promise them that you will provide them every opportunity to accomplish more and more on their own.