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How to Help Your Kids Build Self-Worth (5 Tips That Work)

How to Help Your Kids Build Self-Worth (5 Tips That Work)

Healthy self-esteem is the foundation for a healthy life. A child’s social, behavioral, and emotional health plays an integral role in how they handle setbacks throughout their entire life.

A positive outlook on oneself sparks positivity which leads them towards success both inside as well outside of themselves.

To help your children build strong self-worth and esteem. You must do these 5 things.

  1. Empower your children to make their own choices
  2. Be there for them
  3. Love them no matter what
  4. Remind your child of past successes
  5. Shift Negative Self Talk

How to Help Your Kids Build Self-Worth (5 Tips That Work)

Keep reading to find out how you can successfully support your child growing self-worth.

Building solid self-worth and self-esteem isn’t only about positivity and positive affirmations. Though it can be helpful and can provide you with the push you or your children need. It isn’t what builds self-worth.

There is a book written for psychologists called Self-Esteem: Paradoxes and Innovations in Clinical Theory and Practice by Dr. Richard Bednar and Scott Peterson. Even though the title would probably make you never pick it up to read. This book is based on some amazing studies that were done about self-esteem.

how to build and encourage self esteem in children

Dr. Richard and Scott Peterson found that building self-esteem does not come from things such as compliments and approval from others. But that self-esteem is tied to seeing ourselves taking on challenging things and doing the hard thing versus seeing ourselves running away from the problem and avoiding the challenge.

When adults and children shy away from a problem their self-esteem takes a hit. Self-esteem isn’t tied to the end result. So even if your child fails at a problem they still took on the problem and their self-worth and Self-esteem was increased.

To build a sense of self-worth, children need to see themselves taking on challenges. The research shows that if our kids are constantly avoiding problems rather than facing them then they won’t develop the confidence and resilience needed for success in life

To increase your child’s emotional well-being you should let him or her approach challenges as an individual while also providing support when needed so he/she can learn how to handle difficult situations.

So how can you as a parent do this for your child?

Empower Your Children To Make Their Own Choices

You should allow your child to make their own choices whenever possible. This will help them build confidence and feel competent. But also remember to provide guidance when needed so they don’t become overwhelmed.

You can also do this by giving your child some challenges and opportunities to take something on that is going to be a little challenging for them while making sure the task is age appropriate.

To know if a task is age appropriate is by doing something called the 5k test this is something I learned from Dr. Paul Jenkins from Live On Purpose and the 5k test is where you ask yourself “If I were to offer my child 5k to do what I just told them to do. Would they do it?” Now, if you have a toddler they aren’t going to understand money but if you gave them 5,000 suckers to do what you just asked them to do. Would they do it?

Your goal with the 5k test is to take out the motivation and just look at the ability. So does your child have the ability to complete this task? Can they handle it? That is how you can know if the task you give is age appropriate.

Be There For Them

Children need to know that you are there for them when they need help. You encourage them with a “you got it!” but this doesn’t mean you are leaving your child to fend for themselves. You are letting your child know that they are in control of their lives and the challenges and difficulties they may face.

how to build and encourage self esteem in children

Another important aspect of being there for them is to let them know that you got them! You are letting them know that they are not alone and that you guys are a team. By showing your confidence in them as a parent you are giving your child the strength and courage they may need to feel like they got it!

Love Them No Matter What

Hearing that you care about your child is important for their development. And children need to hear this from the people who love them most – their parents! Children shouldn’t have to behave or act a certain way or accomplish a task to feel loved by their parents. Loving children should be regardless of how they act, behave, or the things they accomplish.

Remind Your Child of Past Successes

When children are feeling down and don’t think they can accomplish something, remind them of a time when they did something hard for them. This will help build their confidence and show them that they are capable of taking on difficult tasks. Paint the picture for them that they faced a hard task and they did it anyways and maybe it didn’t work out the first time but they kept trying and eventually they got through the task and they did it!

Remember to build self-esteem one needs to see themselves facing the challenge regardless of the outcomes.

Shift Negative Self Talk

When we talk to ourselves, we sometimes can be our own worst critics. And when children are constantly hearing negative things about themselves, it can damage their self-esteem. So instead of saying things like “I’m so stupid” or “I’m not good enough”, help your child shift their thinking to something more positive.

If your child says “I can’t do it.” Help them shift their thinking to “I can’t do it YET!”

how to build and encourage self esteem in children

This is a great opportunity to help your child practice having a growth mindset. The next time you hear your child say phrases such as “she/he is better at it than me.”, ” I can’t do that”, “It’s too hard”, “I can’t do it as good as them” etc. Gently correct them and talk about why they feel that way and then help say phrases such as “I could ask him/her how she does it.”, “This is hard for me right now, but it will get easier the more I do it.”, and  “I can’t do it yet.

When parents can help their children catch themselves saying negative things about themselves, they can start to shift their thinking to something more positive and this will help build their self-esteem.


Building self-esteem takes time and practice but it is so important for children. I hope you found this article helpful. Also if you want to learn more parenting tips such as how to set boundaries that stick, and how to get your children to listen, cooperate and obey. Check out my book called Parenting Without Drama by clicking on the link in the description below!