I’ve mentioned this before in my social media posts, but I worry about self-esteem in my children.  

I can talk until I’m blue in the face about all the things I adore about them…I can tell them they’re the bee’s knees over and over, but eventually, in the end, that self-esteem has to come from them.  Not from their mother.  BUT there are ways we can help them nudge them in the right direction to gain that all important quality.  Something they are going to need throughout life to make tough decisions and to find their own purpose.
Years ago a friend raved about a book called Your Child’s Self Esteem.  I ordered it and skimmed it, but I haven’t taken a real dive into it.  I need to get busy with that one…another nudge came last night since I randomly came across this post back HERE that gave the “cliff notes” from that very book.
I figure there are other moms out there with the same worries as I have, so I’m pasting in part of that post right here today.  It’s from a motherhood retreat I attended clear back in 2012.  Here you go:
Margaret opened up the day on Saturday.  She spoke about helping our children develop self-esteem.  She highly recommended a book called Your Child’s Self-Esteem I am going to have to order because she brought up SO many points from it.  I am going to write some highlights of my notes because it was like she was speaking right to me.  Here you go:

  • Children value themselves to the degree they feel valued.
  • Of course we love our children and we assume they know that.  But there is a difference between being loved and feeling loved. 
  • You are a psychological mirror that your children use to build their identity.
  • Be aware of giving technology more attention than we give our children. [there it was: that warning about social media clear back in 2012!] Do our eyes light up when our children enter a room?  They should!
  • Sometimes as mothers we habitually attend to what is missing or what is wrong instead of building up the good stuff.  Margaret told a story of when she got so frustrated with her son for forgetting things and missing the bus.  She dropped him off at the school with all the weight of her lecture weighing him down.  As she was about to take off, her younger son rolled down the window and called out to his older brother: “I love you!!”  Oh the way she told that story made me so motivated to ease up a little on those lectures!
  • Kids are such a work in progress…we should put ourselves in their shoes as often as we can.
  • Find the goodness in each child and build that up.  Reinforce the good parts of the day and how they made you feel.  We all need positive feedback, right?
  • Compliment kids in front of other kids…pray about how grateful you are for them with them at your side.
  • Undivided attention with each child is so important!  (that made me glad we do the things I wrote about back here)
  • We are all encumbered and frazzled by so many things.  We need to be sure that we acknowledge that those sweet children are so much more important than a phone call, email, blog post, etc.
  • Show love through service.  The mundane (helping them clean a room, a sincere compliment) can become monumental.
I’m sure some of those notes were from what other mothers added to the discussion, not just from the book, but I needed those reminders right about now in my mothering and wanted to share.
There are some other good notes I shared from that retreat and those inspirational mamas back there in that post (HERE) as well…check them out if you want more detail.
Just some thoughts for a Monday.  I’d love to hear other thoughts on helping to nurture self-esteem in children.  As I mentioned back HERE, I think low self-esteem is becoming an epidemic and I’m hoping to combat that in my corner of the world in any way I can!


  1. Hi there! I have been following you for a few years now and I truly admire you as a mother. I have borrowed some of your values and ideas for raising my own three children. My husband and I are both teachers. We have the summers off and have bought a house about 5 hours north from home on a lake. My husband calls it his time machine. It’s a special place for us because it gives us the opportunity to reconnect as a family. Reading your post this morning, reminded me that I’m trying to raise confident children. I encourage them to have mindfulness and to truly get to know what makes them who they are. I try to reinforce that we are all special and have something to contribute. I’m going to try to focus on giving each child of mine the attention and love that they deserve this summer. I have to be better at positive praise to my 15 year old boy and fitting in special mother daughter time for my 12 year old girl and of course loving up my 9 year Little man. Thank you providing guidance and strength to me without even knowing you did 🙂

  2. Kids are grown, but one thing I found to be very true is that kids have high self esteem when they feel capable and competent. Too much gushy over them/constant praise doesn't fill them up inside (although they certainly need to hear it sometimes). But kids that have skills to take care of themselves feel good about themselves.

  3. I grew up with low self esteem. It was partly environment and just me I have learned a lot about myself in my 44 years and my self esteem is much healthier. I'm teaching my son the positive way how to have good self esteem by complimenting when he tries his hardest on something he felt he could not do it. Encouraging to try even if he feels he can't do it. Reminding him failure is not really a failure. It is a chance to do it better.

  4. I have horrible self esteem and have wondered why for many many years. And I also worry that I am creating the same problem in my children.
    I think that how you talk about others in front of your children is important, because if they hear you speak ill of others they can apply it to themselves if they assess themselves to the same standards. Giving others grace and compassion with all their flaws can help children see the good in times of defeat or failure or weakness and struggle.
    I also read an article about the importance of fathers in girls developing self esteem. This made sense to me because my dad died when I was six- and I wonder if his absence has brought on some of my negative self-esteem issues.
    Thanks for sharing your notes and giving me food for thought!

  5. I call it identity crisis. Kids these days no longer get their identity from the inside out. They get it from social media- what the world tells them they should be. Wendy Ulrich gave some great insights. But one thing that I remember best was her telling us that family history is one of the greatest sources for a true identity. In our family we have a binder full of family history pictures and stories. As my children come to know where they come from, they come to know who they are and where they want to go. They also see themselves in others in looks, personality, and characteristics. It’s amazing what family history can do!!!

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