Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt seems like it’s harder to be a kid these days than it used to be. There have always been pressures growing up, but with social media and the internet, there are new avenues of potential stress to consider. Where cyber-bullying didn’t used to exist, it is now a real concern. And while you certainly want to talk to you child about peer pressure, online safety and bullying, the foundation that needs to be built first is self-esteem.

Building Self-Esteem in Your Kids

The best weapon against the opinions of others is a secure opinion of oneself. A child who knows that they are loved and that they are worthwhile can better defend against bullying from kids at school or online.

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Simply saying “I love you” and hugging your kids every single day can wrap your kids in a protective bubble of self-esteem, but being involved in your children’s lives – attending special events like a sports game or recital, respecting individuality, talking to your kids, and having dinner together can make a huge difference. This also builds confidence in a child being able to come forward to a parent or teacher about poor behavior from other students, creating a safer environment for everyone. These days, the number one thing you can do to build self-esteem in your kids is to put down your phone.

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You won’t be able to protect your child from all the name-calling or peer pressures, especially as they get older. Remind your child of their individual strengths, acknowledge their successes, and offer encouragement after failure. A child with good self-esteem is able to pursue their own interests without concern for the thoughts of others and enjoy what makes them happy. Your child is perfect just the way they are, and it is one of the first lessons they should learn.