Improving Your Child's Self-Esteem

By Daves, Jada Ledford | The Exceptional Parent, September 1999 | Go to article overview

Improving Your Child's Self-Esteem


Daves, Jada Ledford, The Exceptional Parent


September is once again upon us and it is time to make back-to-school preparations for our children. A healthy supply of self-esteem, however, is more important than pens and paper for success in school. This article contains some tips and suggestions on how to boost your child's self-esteem as well as some resources to access.

Self-esteem is especially important for children with disabilities who face sometimes harsh realities and awesome challenges. When I was 18, I suffered near-fatal injuries in a car accident. Having overcome my own challenge, I am fully aware of how broadly the level of self-esteem can change a child's life.

I sustained a brain concussion, a leg injury, damage to one eye, and severe lacerations to my face. When I regained consciousness and began to recover, I became deeply depressed and withdrawn. I may never walk again, I thought, and my once unblemished face was destroyed. The next year of my life was considerably trying as a result of the trauma, as well as the severe, unexpected blow my self-esteem had taken.

The love and encouragement of my family helped me through surgery and rehabilitation, and helped me come to grips with my situation. I was forced to accept my new self for who I was and do battle with the constant reminders that my looks and booming self-confidence were gone. Feeling more assured through my recovery and with my family's support, I refocused my energies on college and a teaching degree.

The long-term effects of my accident, however, made me think about the importance of self-esteem. Having eventually regained 75 percent use of my leg and some of my lost self-esteem, I took an interest in studying how and why people get to deep self-esteem lows and what they need to do to break out of them. What made people succeed in life? What is it that keeps them down when they fall? What impact does self-esteem have on our lives?

By speaking with other people who either had some physical disability or special challenge in their lives, I began to notice a common theme. It seemed that regardless of a person's age, background, race, etc., a person's self-esteem is strongly affected by the physical characteristics of his or her body. In my research, I came across a study in which Dr. Susan Harter, professor of psychology at the University of Denver, drew the following conclusion: "Through extensive research we have established the single most critical factor in self-esteem is physical appearance." I could relate immediately to that conclusion, and decided that helping people--especially children--make the strides I was making with my own self-esteem would improve their lives and give them a better chance at success in life, regardless of disability.

Through my research, I discovered some important positive patterns exhibited by individuals with high self-esteem: decreased feelings of alienation and insecurities; fewer negative health behaviors, such as risky sexual behavior, drug abuse, and suicide; they have a lower rate of teenage pregnancy; they earn more money; they have better relationships; they live longer; and they are less likely to be susceptible to negative social influences. Parents play a key role in shaping their child's behavior. Included here are some ideas which can be used by parents to encourage a strong sense of self.

EIGHT TIPS ON BOOSTING YOUR CHILD'S SELF-ESTEEM

1. Parents and guardians need to be supportive and encouraging of their child. Let them know they have achieved something, even the smallest accomplishment. Affection is also very important. A good hug or gentle touch can lift a child's spirits and make him/her feel your support. Your physical presence at their social activities is also a way to show them that what they are doing is worthwhile and important.

A conversation I had with Jill Hindman, a woman with spina bifida who uses a wheelchair, is still very flesh in my mind.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Improving Your Child's Self-Esteem
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.