Are your children self-centered? Are you worried that their self-esteem is on the wrong track? Inside you'll learn 3 parenting tips for increasing self-esteem and decreasing selfishness.

This Parenting Request Comes from a Valued Newsletter Subscriber:

"Dear Jean,
I would like to get some tips on confidence building in my ten year-old boy."

A caring mom

A recent study by author, Professor Jean Twenge, showed that a dramatic number of college students today have become increasingly self-centered. The reason, according to the study, is the self-esteem movement of the 1980's. How can this be? Don't children need self-esteem? Of course they do. I believe the self-esteem movement left something out and there is a solution.

The Selfish Side of Self-Esteem:

Kids throughout the land were told they were special. From pre-school teachers they sang, "I am special" to the tune of Frere Jacques. They heard positive affirmations from parents, teachers and coaches. They were given trophies even if their team lost. They received points if they did their homework even if it was wrong and sloppy.

Children were given unconditional positive regard but they weren't always taught that others are important too. They needed to know that everyone is special. They needed to look beyond their own self-interest.

3 Parenting Tips for Building Healthy Self-Esteem:

Your role for your child's self-esteem is vital. It's easy too. Here's how family meetings, affirmations, and dilemma discussions balance and build healthy self-esteem.

First Parenting Tip ~ Hold family meetings.

Family meetings teach children to work as a team. They learn that family members have feelings, problems, and solutions too. They learn to respect each other by taking turns listening and speaking. In short, family meetings help kids think beyond themselves and care about the family members too.

Second Parenting Tip ~ Teach Empathy with Affirmations.

Teaching your child to say, "I am special" and other positive affirmations is fine. Just balance it with caring for others. Give your kids affirmations like:

I appreciate how well you played with your little brother when he wanted to play cars and you didn't want to.

I noticed how kind you were to your friend when she lost the game.

I saw how you shared your snacks with your team.

Affirmations like these reinforce self-esteem in your child. They motivate your child to consider other people too.

Third Parenting Tip ~ Discuss Moral Dilemmas.

Discussing age-appropriate dilemmas help your child see and feel things from another child's view. They help your child think right about wrong. They help your child decide how to assist others, give advice, and problem solve too.

Self-Esteem Conclusion:

Telling your child to repeat confidence builders like "I am special" is fine. Just remember to help your child to realize other people are special too. Use family meetings. Give affirmations that include positive treatment of others. Talk about age-appropriate discussions regarding moral and social problems. They're easy to do and they build healthy self esteem with character too.

Author's Bio: 

Jean Tracy, MSS publishes a Free Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe at and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

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