The early and middle years of a child’s life are the foundation for a positive self-esteem. It is much easier to build up a child, tween and teen than it is to rebuild and repair an adult.

As parents, carers, teachers, mentors, family, we cannot control their world and experiences but we can equip them to handle the pressures from the inside out with a healthy dose of self worth and confidence.

Here are my top 5 suggestions on how you can help build self-esteem within your kids:

Don’t compare: Especially within the family. Children all have different skills and talents, it is so important that you find each individual strength and passion both academically, socially and talent wise between your children. Like us all, children need to feel like they have their “space” where they excel with goals that are within their reach and ability.

Validate their feelings: It is so easy for us to brush our children’s issues off as “immature” “they will get over it” or “work it out” but remember an emotion is an emotion and a feeling a feeling no matter what age. Kids of this day and age are facing real life peer pressure, stress and anxiety far exceeding previous generations. The impact and influence of social media and technology suggests they are dealing with more mental, emotional and physical experiences and sometimes they just need us as parents to acknowledge and just LISTEN.

Deal with your own self-esteem: Children are a product of their environment, so if they are hearing conversation or language in the home they will reproduce. A good example of this is body image, so many women especially are on “diets” doing “detox” eating different to the family at meal times and making comments on social media or through conversations “I need to lose 5 kg before spring, otherwise there is no way I am getting in bathers!” All of a sudden there is a precedent of “weight” “kg” being a source of success and/or acceptance.

Dad & Mum Dates: I am a big believer in couples dating way beyond the dating scene in their marriage but it is so profoundly important and powerful that as parents you take your children and teens out for one on one dates. Often over a milkshake, meal, bike ride you will hear more about what is going on in their life because there is connection and concentrated time. #dateyourkids

Help them Trust Themselves: 
Parents generally want to make life easy for their kids. It’s just natural to want to protect them, but it’s not healthy to always forge the path. In fact, constantly running to the rescue could send the message to your child that he or she is not a capable person. Be honest and open about mistakes, choices and consequences and help them come up with strategies on managing the bullies, critics and disappointments.