No matter the age, children of divorced parents can take it upon themselves to carry the blame for the break-up of the family. They think if they behaved better, listened better, got better grades, helped out more, then things would not have gotten so bad at home. Obviously, this is not true… the responsibility for the divorce rests solely on the parents, and it is also their responsibility to help their children cope with the divorce.
Your child’s self-esteem is their mental foundation. A self-assured child is successful, confident, happy, secure and well-adjusted. They tend to be able to solve problems that come their way easier, and under the umbrella of loving nurturing parents, their self-esteem will thrive.
Your child’s self-esteem may have taken a hit because of the divorce but there are some things that you can do to help them recover.
Good Ways to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child
- For starters you need to understand what they are going through and they need to be treated differently while they adjust.
- Accept your child for who they are and get them to do the same.
- Teach your child that everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect. Show them how to learn and grow from their mistakes. A lot of this is done through them watching you deal with your own mistakes.
- Help them to discover their talents and abilities and encourage them to build on them.
- Praise your children for accomplishments and the natural traits they already possess.
- Encourage them to make positive choices… again parent by example. Talk often with your children about things going on in their lives and around them. Help them to understand what a good choice looks like.
- Spend lots of quality time with your children. This can look different based on the age and the custody agreement, but there should always be a way for you to connect with your children. Shoot some hoops, grab a burger, play a game together, read a book, do the dishes together; there are tons of ways to connect with your children. Mix it up.
Signs of a Low Self-Esteem
- Call themselves “stupid” and put themselves down.
- Give up on things that are difficult without really trying.
- Have a negative outlook on life and the things around them.
- Feel guilty and see the things they have done as unforgivable.
- Try always to be perfect and don’t accept themselves for who they are.
- Have realistic expectations for themselves and others.
- Smoke, drink, or use alcohol.
- Start to get low grades at school.
- Be feeling depressed.
Remember that children with a high self-esteem are capable of applying what they have learned from their mistakes to their everyday lives. They tend to be more successful and happier; they overcome obstacles that get in their way. They can laugh at themselves and accept others for who they are more readily. Children that tend to have a lower self-esteem often end up hanging out with the wrong crowd, using drugs, drinking, and/or smoking. So take it upon yourself to nurture your children and give them what they need to grow emotionally healthy.