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Build your kids’ confidence and self-esteem

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I believe wholeheartedly in parenting by example. I know that if I don’t want my daughter to look in the mirror and judge herself, she can’t see me do it, either.

If she hears me say, "I look fat in this," she will learn to say it of herself. So while I am not perfect at following this, I do try. The other day I got to twondering what I would say if she came home one day and told me that someone made her feel like she wasn’t doing something the right, or best way. I’d tell her, that nobody can make her feel a certain way. We feel what we feel because of us, not them.    

In teaching my daughter what could be a valuable lesson, I had to consider the difference between confidence and self esteem.

So here it is:

Self confidence is acceptance of yourself, your certainty about your abilities, the belief you have in your ability to do things. Self esteem is how you feel about yourself, your own worth, and how you respect yourself.

Here are a few ways to build up your children’s self esteem and confidence.

1. Avoid judgemental comments. When they don’t do well on tests, try saying, "Lets make sure you get in a few extra hours of study time for the next test," and follow through on it.

2. Remind kids what they excel in. Have them write a list of their good qualities, and what they do well. While doing something together, ask them to tell you five or 10 things they think they are good at.

3. Celebrate progress. While your kid may not be the best athlete, you don’t need to point it out, now should you lie by telling them they did a great job. When you see them trying hard, acknowledge it, tell them that you saw how hard they worked. As kids get better at something, celebrate it.

4. Compliment them. Try giving them a compliment and encourage them to compliment someone else once each day. Compliment your daughter when she is kind. Tell her that you’re proud of her for including Sally in the mall outing.

5. Create opportunities for children to help and voice their opinions. Kids want to be heard, and they need to know their voices matter. Even if you have to create an opportunity, let them have a say in a family decision. They may just have some good ideas!

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