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Building Healthy Self-Esteem

Building Healthy Self-Esteem
“Self-esteem reflects a person’s self-worth, including the person’s beliefs about themselves and the emotional response to those beliefs. It represents the capacity to feel worthy of happiness, to address life’s challenges successfully. Self-esteem is a great predictor of future behavior because your belief in yourself affects how you interact with other people,” according to Allison Kranich, MS, LCPC, CAADC, behavioral health therapist at Centegra. Building self-esteem in children is a very important job, but a healthy self-esteem is complex with a number of factors affecting the outcome.
Research indicates that early positive experiences with parents and other important adults in a child’s life can influence self-esteem in children. It is important for children to feel liked, loved and respected and for adults to balance expectations and praise. Adults can help children meet expectations and learn from their mistakes.
Adults play an integral part in teaching children how to solve problems and to learn to approach situations differently so that they learn to make better decisions as they mature. One way adults can do this is to help children decide on attainable goals. Children need to feel valued for their relationships rather than for their achievements only. They need adult help to correct inaccurate perceptions and false generalizations. Parents can teach children ways to let their thoughts lead their emotions rather than the other way around. Spending time with children is a great way to teach them that they are valuable while being on hand to help them navigate problems in a positive manner. Showing an interest in a child’s learning and emotions can help build healthy self-esteem.
Teenagers are naturally impulsive and their brains are not fully developed yet. Setting limits and being responsive to teens can improve their sense of self-worth and lower their risk for poor self-esteem. Studies suggest that parental influence is a strong factor in a child’s psychological development, even during adolescence. Healthy self-esteem can result in drug and alcohol avoidance in teens, while poor self-esteem may result in depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, disordered eating, violent behavior, early initial sexual activity in girls and drug and alcohol use in adolescents.
Risk factors such as sedentary behaviors, high BMI and extended media-screen time can negatively influence the development of healthy self-esteem in children and teens.
Factors positively affecting self-esteem include participation in team sports, increasing physical activity and positive family communication as well as authoritative parenting.
Self-esteem is a life-long process with roots in childhood.. Parents and other trusted adults can purposefully build healthy self-esteem in children, which can carry over into creating successful adults. Each child can be taught to appreciate what it is that makes him unique and special and can be helped to identify his strengths. An investment in the self-esteem of a child has a life-long dividend.
To hear the lecture, Building Self-Esteem in Children, by Allison Kranich, MS, LCPC, CAADC visit here.