What Are the Best Tips for Teaching Self-Esteem?

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  • Written By: Kay Paddock
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
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Self-esteem refers to a person's view of himself. A feeling of self worth, satisfaction and optimism can all be a part of healthy self-esteem. Because these feelings are different for each person, teaching self-esteem is usually not as simple as teaching something concrete, such as how to pronounce a word or do a math problem. Rather, this kind of teaching is a process that includes positive reinforcement of a person's good qualities, developing a realistic view of flaws and shortcomings rather than an exaggerated one, and replacing negative self-talk with a positive attitude.

Before someone begins teaching self-esteem, using a self-esteem scale may be helpful. Scales of this type typically ask a number of questions about how people feel about themselves, whether they feel worthless and whether they feel like they have things of which to be proud. Based on the answers, the scale gives a general idea of whether the person has good or low self-esteem. The lower the scale rating, the longer it may take to cultivate a good, healthy sense of self-worth. Unusually high self-esteem may also not be ideal — a scale worksheet will usually consider a healthy range to be somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.


Teaching self-esteem to children is not much different than teaching it to adults. Children develop their senses of self worth over time, with much of it formed by the way their parents, siblings and other family members treat them. Low self-esteem can result from such things as abuse or neglect, of course, but even mildly negative behaviors from family or friends, such as chronic criticism or correction, can contribute to poor feelings of self worth. Parents can start teaching self-esteem by using more positive reinforcement to counter any negative feelings the child might have. It is important to always be realistic and not give exaggerated praise while at the same time avoiding too much criticism.

One of the most effective methods of teaching self-esteem is to offer encouragement. A failure should usually not be ignored, but it also should not be the only focus. People suffering from low self-esteem should be made to focus on their good and positive qualities, as people with a poor self-image often start to believe they have none at all. Realistic goals also should be set to help reinforce their abilities to successfully complete tasks. Also, the idea of achieving perfection in anything must be avoided, as this may lead to a sense of disappointment that can hold people back from achieving healthy self-esteem.



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