In a society where exterior beauty is taught to supersede inner beauty, many children suffer from self-esteem issues. There are various ways in which children display self-esteem issues from eating disorders, pinned-up anger, social inadequacies, depression and the list is endless. Influences that affect one's self-esteem are television, movies, music, and magazines. As slim individuals grace the covers of magazines and millions of televisions across America, teens are inundated with these unrealistic images. No wonder, teens have difficulty with their self-esteem because such images are unattainable and defeat overwhelms most people, especially youth. However, good or preferably great self-esteem is the goal most parents have for their children. In an article located on the family first aid website (2004), "for 90,000 students ranging from grades 7-12, self-esteem helps teens deal with emotional stress; additionally, having good self-esteem correlates with success later in life." http://www.famiyfirstaid.com
One way to alleviate the negative energies is through self-defense and safety awareness education activities which build communication skills, confidence,and of course defense techniques. As students delve into the art of self-defense a positive image begins to form. In the Santa Clarita/Valencia area http://www.santa-clarita.com various classes are forming for children as young as five years old and the possibilities this opportunity may bring is priceless. According to Crocker (2002), "self-esteem can only come from within the individual." Consequently, parents can help their children build self-esteem but ultimately it comes from within the individual.
In addition, provide your child with a minimum of three compliments per day. Teach your child to compliment themselves for what they do well. For every negative image or ideal it will take approximately triple that amount to rid the negative thoughts. Compliments may be as simple as, "you ran well during practice," or "thanks for doing the dishes so diligently." Positive reinforcement is essential to your child developing positive self-esteem.
Also beneficial is to have your child write items or activities they do well to reinforce the positive. On a daily basis, celebrate with your child the positive. The celebration can range from having a scoop of ice cream together or purchasing a new blouse, even more importantly verbal affirmation which will build those blocks of confidence. This step also opens the door for communication with your child to flow openly and freely.
Finally, help your child know what they stand for, loving themselves so the comparisons to others is limited. Even when your child is reading a magazine,if they are secure in themselves, an unrealistic, airbrushed model will not change that. One technique that can be used to help anyone know what they stand for is journaling their goals and achievements. A healthy self-esteem affects grades, choices and the future of your child. For more information on this topic, read The Self-Esteem Trap:Raising Confident & Compassionate Kid in an Age of Self-Importance by Polly-Young Eisendrath. Self-Esteem is a quality that is built upon and last a life time.