Improving Self Esteem: How to Build Self Confidence in Children

A Mother’s Question About Building Self Esteem In Children

“Emma said to me at bedtime that she thinks that she’s ugly. I’m not exactly sure where she heard this since I’m always telling her how cute she is, but what would you say to your kids if they said that?”

Nicholeen’s Answer:

I am wondering if she has heard lots of talk about beauty from friends at school. Maybe some friends always talk about how pretty certain class mates are, and she is never mentioned or something like that.

Usually issues like this appear to be self-worth problems, but are usually social issues. A girl who is surrounded by talk about beauty can assume she isn’t pretty even if no one says anything mean.

Many people are groomed these days to base their worth off of feedback from others. If a person gets in the habit of that they will always end up needing low self-esteem help. An important skill to know is how to improve your self-esteem. This skill is essential for proper self-government. We really do have control over our own self confidence.

Ways To Build Self Esteem

Raising self-esteem can often take a while. People usually look for some proof of their worth, which can take time. It’s good you reinforced her, but she is probably wanting someone outside the family to reinforce her since that is where the negative feelings are coming from. That is the nature of the social beast. Many families struggle with children who have self-esteem issues because of social interactions and experiences outside their control. This puts the parents on the defensive side of raising the child. It is not the ideal, but is how it is for most families.

If social grooming distracts too much from your child understanding their divine worth, then you might want to adjust the child’s social life. Homeschooling or decreasing time with friends is always an option for families who want a safer social education for their children. The largest amount of social training should come from the family relationships at home. It might be a good idea to discuss the topic more deliberately and to use some examples from other lives. (stories etc.) Maybe your life’s stories. These stories will inspire conversation which will lead to self-awareness and confidence.

Boosting self-esteem isn’t as hard as you might think. A kind comment from your hubby will be a good confidence builder to validate your daughter too. She may already want to please boys. It is a normal girl thing to feel. Bring the issue to his attention and ask him to give her compliments and talk about her virtues in front of other people. People know something is true when they hear someone share the statement with a third party.

Another thing to consider is that proper socialization is taught. It is not something people just pick up along the way. In old times much of the educational experience was centered around etiquette and chivalry; social graces and relationship building. After all, you could tell a person’s status by how they behaved socially.

Today we can still tell most people’s social status by how they behave. The only difference today is that most families don’t actively teach socialization. They hope children will hit a phase where they are properly socialized and mature. That’s just not how it works. For happy children and successful futures teach proper social skills at home. Don’t rely on schools, or churches to teach your children how to behave or to build their self-esteems. These blessings come from family teaching and relationships.

Nicholeen Peck is a popular public speaker, BBC television star and author of Parenting A House United, and Londyn LaRae Says Okay.  Her blog is Teaching Self Government. The BBC show of her family can be found there, as well as answers to frequently asked parenting questions. To buy her book click here.  You can also check out
Nicholeen’s Books and Audio Classes her fantastic New Children’s Book . Visit Nicholeen’s Blog for more great parenting tips.

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  1. michellesears says

    That’s right – self esteem building starts in the home. If
    children are living with parents who mistreat and abuse themselves or each
    other then the kids learn this and believe it’s normal behavior. I take my kids
    to church every Sunday but not to teach them how to behave or how to socialize but
    to teach them about what Jesus did for us.

    The children’s level of self esteem is the parents responsibility but we can’t teach what we don’t know. I grew up with very low self esteem and very little parental guidance. That lack showed in everything I said and did until I was 21 years old.

    Now I have two children and I take full responsibility for how they see themselves, how much they value themselves and also how I personally take care of myself. I know for a fact, that kids do what you do not what you say.

    I definitely lead by example and I pray for the children who were/are being raised like I was. It took me 22 years to decide to treat myself better and another 10 years to actually do it.

  2. Denise says

    I don’t disagree with any thing you’ve said here, but I think another important part of a sense of self worth is know that you (and the Lord) can accomplish hard things.  When children/teens/adults struggle and then accomplish something real (like a 50 miler hike with the scouts or a flawless recital or a good grade in a subject in which they’ve previously struggled, etc.), I think that’s a real building block.

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