Close
Language?
English
Español
Self-esteem

7 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

By Amanda Morin

28Found this helpful
28Found this helpful

Learning and attention issues can be tough on your child’s self-esteem. He may have to work harder to make progress in school. He may struggle socially too. Here’s how you can help improve your child’s self-esteem.

1 of 7

Be a self-esteem role model.

Let your child hear you talk things through to show how you value your own strengths while acknowledging weaknesses. For example, it’s OK to mention your weak working memory: “I can’t remember the things on the grocery list.” But try to pair that statement with something that emphasizes your problem-solving skills: “Next time I’ll use my phone to take a picture of the list in case I forget to bring that piece of paper to the store.”

2 of 7

Build self-esteem through famous role models.

Knowing there are successful people with learning and attention issues who faced similar struggles can provide inspiration. For example, actor Daniel Radcliffe has said that doing stunt work for the Harry Potter movies helped him overcome some of his struggles with dyspraxia.

3 of 7

Encourage extracurricular interests.

Does your child have a nice voice and like to sing? Suggest that he join a choir. Is he naturally athletic? Talk about signing up for a local baseball league. Finding an extracurricular activity that your child enjoys and is good at will help him discover his strengths and keep his academic struggles in perspective.

4 of 7

Be clear, not critical.

You can’t avoid addressing things that need to be changed. But you can address them in ways that don’t make your child feel bad about himself. Instead of saying “Why do you always leave your room in such a mess?” you can say “This room is messy. Put down your game and put away your laundry.”

5 of 7

Reframe your child’s negative statements about himself.

For example, if your child has dyslexia and says “I’m stupid because I can’t read,” you can respond, “Reading is hard for you, but you tell great stories.”

6 of 7

Recognize that mistakes are learning experiences.

Don’t ignore mistakes. Help your child find the “next time you can” in them. For example, you could say, “Yep, you spilled the juice. Next time you’re pouring the juice, you can hold your glass over the sink.”

7 of 7

Praise efforts.

Let your child know that effort is as valuable as the end result. Find ways to praise your child for working hard on the projects he does for school as well as for fun. For example, you could say, “Your hard work practicing the piano really shows when you play that song.” Explore more tips on how to give your child the best kind of praise.

View the tips again

11 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Strengths and Weaknesses

It’s important to talk to kids with learning and attention issues about their weaknesses. It’s equally vital to remind them of their strengths. Here are tips to help you strike a healthy balance and keep the lines of communication open.

10 Tips for Giving the Best Kind of Praise

The best kind of praise can motivate your child. But some compliments can make kids with learning and attention issues less willing to take on difficult tasks. Here’s how to give praise that empowers.

About the Author

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

As a writer specializing in parenting and education, Amanda Morin draws on her experience as a teacher, early intervention specialist and mom to children with learning issues.

More by this author

Reviewed by Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. May 29, 2014 May 29, 2014

Did you find this helpful?

More to Explore

  • Parenting Coach

    Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges.

  • Tech Finder

    Find technology to help your child.

    Select platform or device
  • Through Your Child’s Eyes

    Simulations and videos to let you experience your child’s world.

  • Can Dyslexia Cause Headaches?

    Could this child’s headaches be caused by his dyslexia?

  • Finding a Therapist for Your Child

    We asked the Understood community how they found the help they needed. Experts chimed in, too.

  • Join a Group!

    A safe place for you to connect with other parents like you.

  • Films That Feature Dyslexia

    If your child has reading issues, consider watching (and talking about) these films with him.

  • How One Mom Became an Advocate

    Hear how Mary De Angelo made it to the statehouse as part of Dyslexia Advocacy Day in Annapolis, MD.