4 Things Parents Do That Crush Children's Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is central to everything in a person's life. Also known as self-value or self-respect, self-esteem refers to the way we see ourselves, which shapes our behaviors and decisions. Having strong self-esteem encourages us to push through challenges, try new things, and believe in ourselves. 

As parents, we try our best to foster positive self-esteem in our children. Yet we sometimes make mistakes when it comes to what to say and how that impacts our children's self-esteem. We are, after all, only human.

We need to be mindful that those mistakes we make in how we relate to our children and teens don't negatively affect them. As I wrote in my book, 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, to avoid these mistakes, we first need to know what they are. Here are four examples of self-esteem-sapping parental behaviors. 

1. Yelling and hitting

Nothing lowers self-worth like yelling and hitting. When you yell and hit, you are showing poor impulse control delivered through a temper tantrum with the goal of disempowering your child. What kind of life lesson is that to teach?

To be sure, most of us have yelled. I have yelled at my kids and even grabbed them in a few past isolated incidents. I am not proud of this, and I encourage you to realize, as I did, that we are bullying our children when we yell at or hit them.

While it may feel as if you have succeeded in getting them to stop their offensive behaviors, it’s a short-term fix, and you’ve really just succeeded in making them feel diminished. Yelling and hitting from parents interferes with your child being able to have a constructive conversation to problem-solve, work through conflicts, and build self-esteem. 

2. Dwelling on past conflicts

Once a problem or conflict is resolved, don't keep mentioning it again. Children should be allowed to start over with a clean slate. Parents who bring up their children’s past mistakes are teaching them to hold grudges for long periods of time. continue reading on Psychology Today