Helping Your Children Become Capable and Build Self-Esteem

Self Esteem, Let’s Build It!

By: Laura Greer of Priority Parenting

Before building our child’s self-esteem, we need to start with ourselves. There’s a lot to learn in parenting, have you noticed?  It’s our generation that has the academic studies and awareness to realize this, so we didn’t grow up seeing parents learning to parent. The past has been Step 1: have a child, Step 2: you know all answers and how all things should be done.

Parenting begins with us, with you. In my parenting education, I know that any and all emphasis on adult responsibility is only for the awareness of effectiveness toward your end goals— no blame or shame!

Don’t we all need to be reminded of that? You got this, you really do, you are the exact right person to be the parent of your child. If something isn’t working well, admit it, if you want to change some things, you can do that.

The foundation for children to have healthy self-esteem is the development of the belief: “I am capable.” (It’s the same with you!)

To help kids feel capable, they need to experience creating a result or solution where their actions are involved. This starts with putting toys away, getting their socks on! Then it’s completing their homework, taking trash out weekly. Remember, in learning to do something there needs to be space to do it wrong first, to fall off the monkey bars, then try it again.

That sequence is success, it’s being capable of starting over, doing it again!

Encourage kids by pointing out when they are capable of taking care of something themselves, then provide the patience, time and space for them to do so.

Reality check: of course you can’t do this all the time, protect your sanity and obligations, but look for these opportunities more!

Learning “I am Capable” can’t be developed when we: Do too much for them, Overprotect them, Do homework for them, Demand.

Opportunities to feel needed and significant encourages “I am Capable”.


Today, children don’t have many natural opportunities to feel needed and significant, but parents and teachers can thoughtfully provide these opportunities. We have an obligation to provide opportunities for children to develop responsibility and motivation.

Children can develop capable perceptions and skills naturally when they are allowed to work side by side with their parents, on-the-job training while making meaningful contributions to the family lifestyle. Cooperation based on mutual respect and shared responsibility is more effective than authoritarian control.

Positive Discipline’s criteria for effective discipline:

  1. Does it help children feel a sense of connection? (Belonging and Significance)
  2. Is it respectful and encouraging? (Kind and firm at the same time)
  3. Is it effective long-term? (Does it consider what the child is thinking, feeling, deciding?)
  4. Does it teach important life skills? (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, cooperation)

Parents, you got this! Always be curious about who your child is, what traits can you nurture for their greatest adult life to flourish?