Building Self-Esteem

Silverstone defines self-esteem as "the sense of contentment and self-acceptance that stems from a person's appraisal of their own worth, significance, attractiveness, competence and ability to satisfy their aspirations" (Silverstone 1992).
Read about self-esteem, it's development, and importance in this excellent article by Kathy Hanlon.

"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"
The above from: Helping Your Child Develop Self-Esteem
A strong, positive sense of self is important in everyday life, and a powerful weapon against eating disorders.

Some simple ways to help build self-esteem in your child:
  • "Be generous with praise. Parents must develop the habit of looking for situations in which children are doing good jobs, displaying talents, or demonstrating positive character traits. Remember to praise children for jobs well done and for effort.
  • Teach positive self-statements. It is important for parents to redirect children's inaccurate or negative beliefs about themselves and to teach them how to think in positive ways.
  • Avoid criticism that takes the form of ridicule or shame. Blame and negative judgments are at the core of poor self-esteem and can lead to emotional disorders.
  • Teach children about decision making and to recognize when they have made good decisions. Let them "own" their problems. If they solve them, they gain confidence in themselves. If you solve them, they'll remain dependent on you. Take the time to answer questions. Help children think of alternative options.
  • Show children that you can laugh at yourself. Show them that life doesn't need to be serious all the time and that some teasing is all in fun. Your sense of humor is important for their well-being."
The above from: Your Child’s Mental Health: Building Self-Esteem in Children
See how you score on this quiz about eating disorders and self-esteem: Eating Disorders & Self Esteem Quiz

See sidebar for list and links to Resources and Tools for more self-assessment tests.
For more information please visit: National Association For Self-esteem