Self Esteem

Hanover Hints
Issue 5: January
Hanover Hints
Connecting Schools, Students, and Families
Self-esteem is our self-view of ourselves, or
how we define who we are. Self-esteem can
cover a vast array of areas including how
capable, valuable, and important we believe
we are, how confidant we actually are, and
how loved we feel. As kids grow, self-esteem is
not always static, but it generally stays within a
certain range—and we want this range to be at
the high end of the spectrum!
In This
Signs of High Self-Esteem
A desire to try new things
A desire to be around peers
Negative statements not directed at the self
A generally positive mood
An optimistic attitude
Persistence on difficult tasks
Enjoyment of both group and independent
An awareness and acceptance of strengths and
Signs of Low Self-Esteem
Avoidance of trying new things
Lack of motivation to be around others
Negative self-statements
A generally negative mood
An overly pessimistic attitude
Giving up easily and/or quickly
Overly critical self-statements
A tendency to believe things are permanent
Frequent use of extreme words such as
“always” and “never”
Hanover Hints
Issue 5: January
How Parents and Caregivers can Help
Be a positive self-role model
Don’t say things about yourself that
you wouldn’t want your child to say
about him/herself. Demonstrate
persistence and model how to
approach a problem from another
angle. Avoid negative self-statements
like “I’m so bad at…” and replace
them with statements like “Hmm…I
don’t understand this fully—maybe I
could ask X to help me.”
Be a positive other-role model
Electronic Resources for
What you say about and to your
child can have a profound effect on
kids’ self-esteem. Make sure to praise
your child in an honest and accurate
way. Avoid untruthful statements in
an effort to make your child feel good
if it is about something that may not
actually happen. For example, if your
child studied hard for a test and got a
D, avoid saying “Well if you study
just as hard next time, I KNOW
you’ll get an A!” Instead, say
something like “I know you studied
really hard for that test, and I’m so
proud of your hard work.” Never
discount effort, even if the end result
isn’t perfect. Good self-esteem is just
as much about effort and task
completion as it is about final
Reframe Inaccurate Beliefs
Electronic Resources for
Texts for Kids
I Like Myself! by Karen
I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting
Off a Little Self-Esteem by
Jamie Lee Curtis
I Like Being Me: Poems for
Children by Judy Lalli
Help your kids realize when their
statements are overly negative or
inaccurate. Do not allow your child
to generalize from something small to
something big! For example, if a
child says, “I’m a terrible reader. I’m
the worst student ever,” help him/her
to see how one thing does not
“catastrophize” into another.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings,
but reframe the statement into
something more accurate and end
with a positive spin. For example, to
the above statement, a parent could
say “I know reading can be really
difficult for you, but that doesn’t
mean you’re a bad student. Being a
good student is about trying your
hardest and doing your best, and I
know you do both of those things! If
you’d like, we can work on reading
Communicate positive thoughts
Love and affection from parents and
caregivers can make a world of
difference in terms of self-esteem for all
ages. Make sure you tell your children
when you’re proud, impressed, excited
for them, etc. Tell your children how
much you love them, give hugs, leave
notes in their lunchboxes—anything
that help them to see how much they’re
loved and how much their parents
appreciate their gifts, talents, and hard
work. Don’t overdo it, but don’t hold
back when you think it’s truly deserved.
Encourage Team Activities
Activities that encourage teamwork
over competition can have a very
positive effect on kids’ self-esteem.
Organizations like 4-H, Girl Scouts, and
Boy Scouts foster relationships and
attract a wide variety of kids with
different backgrounds and experiences.
They also encourage kids to try many
different and new activities together,
which can put kids on even ground in
terms of trying something unfamiliar.
Other organizations, such as tutoring or
mentoring programs, give kids an
opportunity to build relationships with
others while allowing them to have their
time in the spotlight when they get to
“do what they’re good at” by teaching
Create a Predictable, Positive,
Safe, and Loving Home
Home can and should be a safe bubble
for kids. Create an environment that
encourages this sense of safety and love.
Avoid arguing with others (including
your spouse) in front of your child.
Encourage your child to open up to you
and share their thoughts about their
day, life, etc. Open and loving lines of
communication mean that if something
is bothering your child, s/he will be
more likely to tell you about what’s
going on at school, with friends, etc.