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Self-Esteem Introduction

Self Esteem

This center focuses on the building and maintaining of healthy self-esteem in children and adults.

In the first chapter, we look at a general overview of self-esteem including what it is, things you can do to improve self-esteem and changing negative thoughts.

The second chapter is an extensive look at building children's self-esteem, particularly in the middle childhood years (ages 8-11). These years are very exciting, filled with many changes and some challenges as well. Children are developing their own style, their own social life, and their own schedule. They are starting to assert their own beliefs and to express their feelings. During this time parents will find many opportunities to influence children's developing character, and in so doing, lay down a strong foundation that will support children throughout the rest of...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

How can I increase my self-esteem?

  • Pay attention to your own needs and wants - Listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you.
  • Take very good care of yourself - Treat yourself as a wonderful parent would treat a small child or as one very best friend might treat another. If you work at taking good care of yourself, you will find that you feel better about yourself. Here are some ways to take good care of yourself:
    • Eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods (foods containing a lot of sugar, salt, or fat).
    • Exercise - moving your body helps you to feel better and improves your self-esteem. Arrange a time every day or as often as possible when you can get some exercise, preferably outdoors.
    • Do personal hygiene tasks that make you feel better about yourself, things like taking a regular shower or bath, washing and styling your hair, trimming your nails, brushing and flossing your teeth.
    • Have a physical examination every year to make sure you are in good health.
    • Plan fun activities for yourself. Learn new things every day.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy - You may be so busy, or feel so badly about yourself, that you spend little or no time doing things you enjoy.
  • Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities.
  • Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Give yourself rewards, you are a great person.
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and who treat you well. Avoid people who treat you badly.
  • Make your living space a place that honors the person you are.
  • Display items that you find attractive or that remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life.
  • Make your meals a special time. Turn off the television, radio, and stereo. Set the table, even if you are eating alone.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills.
  • Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself, like going on a diet, beginning an exercise program or keeping your living space clean.
  • Do something nice for another person.
  • Make it a point to treat yourself well every day.

For more information

How can I identify and change negative self-thoughts?

  • You may be giving yourself negative messages about yourself that you learned from many different sources including other children, your teachers, family members, caregivers, even from the media, and from prejudice and stigma in our society.
  • Once you have learned them, you may have repeated these negative messages over and over to yourself, especially when you were not feeling well or when you were having a hard time and you may have come to believe them.
  • Some examples of common negative messages that people repeat over and over to themselves include: "I am a jerk," "I am a loser," "I never do anything right," "No one would ever like me," "or I am a klutz."
  • You may think these thoughts or give yourself these negative messages so often that you are hardly aware of them.
  • It is important to pay attention to them. You can carry a small pad with you as you go about your daily routine for several days and jot down negative thoughts about yourself whenever you notice them.
  • It helps to take a closer look at your negative thought patterns to check out whether or not they are true.
  • You could also ask someone else, someone who likes you and who you trust, if you should believe this thought about yourself. Often, just looking at a thought or situation in a new light helps.
  • The next step in this process is to develop positive statements you can say to yourself to replace these negative thoughts whenever you notice yourself thinking them. You can't think two thoughts at the same time, so when you are thinking a positive thought about yourself, you can't be thinking a negative one.
  • Avoid using negative words such as worried, frightened, upset, tired, bored, not, never, can't.
  • It helps to reinforce the positive thought if you repeat if over and over to yourself when you are deeply relaxed, like when you are doing a deep-breathing or relaxation exercise, or when you are just falling asleep or waking up.
  • Changing the negative thoughts you have about yourself to positive ones takes time and persistence.

For more information

How can I nurture self-esteem in my child?

  • Self-esteem is, at root, a measure of children's judgment of their own worth.
  • Children's self-esteem is heavily influence by other people's opinions (spoken and unspoken) of children's relative value, which is, in turn, influenced by children's various accomplishments and failures and how these are received.
  • Self-esteem is primarily built through positive experience. It grows as children experience loving positive communication, and as they take on and master difficult but accomplishable developmentally-appropriate challenges.
  • It is vital that parents:

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