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Self-esteem can be defined as 'a set of feelings or beliefs that we possess about ourselves'. Our self-esteem can greatly affect our actions and motives in our life.

The process of development of our self-esteem starts at a very young age. One can believe that self esteem formations starts almost at infancy.

Infants try to accomplish simple tasks like rolling over or supporting their head, sitting up and then taking support and standing. Whenever your child does something and accomplishes his task, it gives him a feeling of self-satisfaction and boosts his morale. As the child goes on making efforts, sometimes he fails, but ultimately he will always succeed. Others impressions and feelings also help to shape one's self-esteem. That is why the role of the parents is extremely important in developing a healthy self-esteem in their child.

Low Self Esteem and High Self Esteem

If your child has a very high self-esteem and feels good about himself, he is more capable to go out and face the challenges of today's world. Children with a high self-esteem show the following characteristics:

*     They are comfortable in public scenes and social events.
*     They enjoy interacting with others and meeting new people.
*     They like challenges and work hard to find solutions.
*     They accept their weaknesses and build up on their strength

On the other hand if your child's self-esteem is low, such children will be very conscious of themselves, they are scared and nervous and always frightened. Such children do not fare well in school and interpersonal relationships. Children with a low self-esteem show the following characteristics:

*     They are passive in behavior.
*     They like to lead a reclusive life.
*     They do not like trying new things.
*     They talk negatively about themselves.
*     They give up very easily if they fail at something.
*     They adopt a pessimistic attitude towards life.

As a parent what can one do ?

Children are extremely sensitive to what their parents say. Therefore be careful not to ridicule or unduly criticize your child. Encourage and appreciate him, but also be realistic. Act as a role model. As a child, we all learn to copy what our parents do and we want to be like them. So it is basically the parent's self-esteem that is reflected in the child's self-esteem. Love your child dearly and give him a safe and nurtured home environment.

Children who are hit and abused at home or those who see their parents fighting all the time, develop a very low self esteem and they get depressed and may even start hating themselves. If your child has a very low self-esteem and no particular reason can be identified, it may be advisable to seek professional help and take your child to a counselor. The counselor may help you by understanding the child's problems and find a solution.


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