The Home: Motivation and Self-Esteem. Part 1

Self-esteem is the concept we have of ourselves, the image that we form of ourselves. When we are self confident about our talents and qualities, we have good self-esteem. On the other hand, when we doubt our talents and capabilities, we suffer from low self-esteem.

Self-esteem is learned. The self-image a child forms during the first seven years is likely to last a lifetime. During those initial years, the child’s parents and his/her first teachers have the greatest influence on whether the child becomes self-confident or insecure. This is a very important responsibility. Approval or disapproval by parents and teachers defines the child’s self-image and feelings of worth. Through positive messages and encouragement, parents and teachers can help a child create a good self-image, one that will increase the child’s chances for future success.

Children believe our messages. When we encourage and respect them, they gain confidence in themselves. When a child has low self-esteem in school, the following things may occur:

He/she may see himself as being dumb or unintelligent.
May not want to participate in activities where an error may be made. Look at all the parents at their child’s sport games. Listen to the remarks made from the crowd of unhappy parents about their child’s ability on the field. Many parents forget to say positive things, and yell out negative and damaging words. This is an almost instant blow to the child’s future performances.
Child tries to get attention in negative ways.
Mistrusts teachers and students.
Looks for friends in children who also have a low self-esteem (example: boys who conspire to hurt other students, join together).
Presents behavior of apathy toward homework. Many parents interpret this as “laziness” when in reality it is a defense against the fear of failure.
Behavior of timidity that is present in the beginning is covered into a struggle with and a menace toward the school authorities.
The child who is always criticized learns to undervalue himself/herself. All of us parents would like our children to succeed in life and to be happy. Some of the assistance we need is at our fingertips to help develop kids with good self-esteem. As follows:

Help build a sense of belonging. Kids will often get involved with gangs to be accepted and appreciated, as with “Home Boys.” We want to keep them in our homes, not a home gang.
A sense of being “unique and special,” not compared to a brother or sister or friend of the child. Some parents, in a fit of anger will say things like (“…You should learn from your little sister”).

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