Self-esteem is a major key to success in life. The development of a positive self-concept or healthy self-esteem is extremely important to the happiness and success of children and teenagers. Healthy self-esteem is a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who feel good about themselves have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic.

Parents can have more of an effect on self-esteem than they realize. Parents are often quick to express negative feelings to children but somehow don’t get around to describing positive feelings. A child doesn’t know when you are feeling good about him and he needs to hear you tell him that you like having him in the family. Children remember positive statements we say to them. They store them up and “replay” these statements to themselves.

Self-talk is very important in everything we do. Psychologists have found that negative self-talk is behind depression and anxiety. What we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave.

Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves, and our behavior clearly reflects those feelings.
For example, a child or teen with high self-esteem will be able to:

· act independently
· assume responsibility
· take pride in his accomplishments
· tolerate frustration
· attempt new tasks and challenges
· handle positive and negative emotions
· offer assistance to others

On the other hand, a child with low self-esteem will:

· avoid trying new things
· feel unloved and unwanted
· blame others for his own shortcomings
· feel, or pretend to feel, emotionally indifferent
· be unable to tolerate a normal level of frustration
· put down his own talents and abilities
· be easily influenced

Information taken from:

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish is an excellent book that helps parents negotiate parenting in a way that preserves both a child and parent’s self esteem.