WHY ASK WHY?
If your child says "I can't" or uses other statements that show he is frustrated or giving up, ask "Why can't you?" Asking these questions may frustrate your child and you may hear answers like "I don't know... I just can't!" Try bringing the subject up later when the intensity of the situation has lessened. Then ask-- "Earlier today you said you could not solve that puzzle. Why don't you think you could solve it?" By exploring reasons together, you may find the source of a low self-esteem.
Another way to increase self-esteem is to emphasize a child's strong points. If he is good in art, but doesn't do well in sports-- work with him and praise him on his art. By developing a feeling of confidence in one area, that confidence may spread into another area of a child's life.
PRAISE AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Praise and encouragement are essential vitamins for a child. Encourage all children and praise them for situations where they put their "all" into it, no matter what the result.
Filling your vocabulary with positive statements and providing a positive environment is a big step in helping your child conquer low self-esteem.
This article was reprinted with permission from Single Parenting in the Nineties. Copyright 1995 by Pilot Publishing. All rights reserved. This article may be printed out for personal use but may not be reproduced in any other manner, including electronic, without prior written consent from Pilot Publishing. Permission requests may be submitted to Brook Noel.