(1) Replace negative language:
When we consistently speak negatively about ourselves, our ugly words stick in our heads. Our negative self-talk becomes our truth and sets the tone of how others see us as well. Encourage your son to say at least 3 positive things about himself each day so that he creates a new habit of positive self talk.
(2) Provide interesting experiences:
By encouraging your child to participate in activities that he enjoys,your child will have more positive experiences that will enable him to feel good about himself. He will also have the ability to make progress, help others and perhaps even master skills in his chosen area. Whether it’s in sports, academics, school, volunteerism or other community activities, when and where does he feel best?
(3) Give praise when deserved:
Those with low self esteem are more likely to receive low praise or, on the other side of the spectrum, too much “empty praise” such that they don’t believe the eulogizing words anymore. Real praise is giving when it’s due. It often gives a purposeful nod to the person’s character and the impact of that person’s contribution. It becomes very meaningful and internalized.
(4) Discourage negative comparisons:
Comparison can be a dangerous slope. Someone always seems to win or lose. Those with low self esteem often short change themselves internally while either (a) elevating someone else (“you’re so much better than me”) or (b) trying their best to cut others off at the knees in an attempt to elevate themselves (“I’m so much better than you”). Neither are helpful to anyone. People with high self esteem don’t need to make comparisons to demean others or elevate themselves. Rather, they focus on what each person can bring to the table in terms of strengths. This makes everyone feel worthwhile.
Good luck and remember, strong self esteem is not changed in a day but built over time!
Here’s to your success!