Every child needs consistent, individualized attention from their primary caregivers. Focused time and attention show a child that s/he is important and valuable, an important fator in building high self-esteem.
In Practice: Make a connection. This means make eye contact, experience physical closeness, and really listen to what your child says. If you’re too busy to pay attention, let the child know when you will have time to give her your undivided attention. Take a day off to spend with the kids. Shut off the cell phone during family time. Take each child out individually for a “special day,” just spending time enjoying one another’s company.

Emotional Support

Children need to feel that their emotions are valid as they learn appropriate ways to express and resolve their issues.

In Practice: Acknowledge verbally the way a child is feeling, such as “You sound very angry,” and look for their agreement. Then, not only do you know how the child feels, but the child knows that you understand how s/he’s feeling. You can offer an appropriate suggestion for how s/he might express that emotion. See our article on EFT for an amazingly effective tool to help children (and adults!) let go of the reactionary emotions of anger, sadness, guilt or fear that they may be experiencing.
Responsible Choices
A healthy part of a child’s development is the continual testing of their own limits, as well as the limits imposed by others. Parents can begin by providing a range of acceptable choices within which the child is free to choose. Gradually parents can (and should) allow children to take increased responsibility for themselves and their decisions. Throughout the process it is important for both the parent and child to take responsibility for their own actions, reactions, and emotions.

In Practice: If you want your child to dress in a certain manner, pick out two or three outfits each day and let him or her choose among them. Offer choices between two or three chores to do around the house. Ask how many more bites of dinner s/he would like to eat before getting up from the table. When it’s time to clean up, ask your child how many items s/he would like to clear off the table. In general, the fact that the child is making an independent decision in a meaningful situation is more important than the actual number you agree upon.
Children thrive within firm, yet flexible and negotiable boundaries. Firm describes boundaries that are consistent, meaning that from one minute to the next, the child knows and can predict what’s considered acceptable or unacceptable. Flexible and negotiable limits are subject to change as appropriate in order to account for the situation or for the child’s particular phase of development. Such boundaries support a child’s self-esteem by allowing the child to consciously move within or out of those boundaries, teaching respect for self and for others.

In Practice: Say what you mean and mean what you say! Follow through on what you say every time. When your child ignores a request, don’t just repeat the request again. Instead, take him or her out of the situation, make eye contact, and ask for acknowledgement. While allowing children to make their own choices is important, don’t give them a choice unless you can accept what they decide. If it’s getting late and time to leave a friend’s house don’t ask them if they are ready to leave because the answer is probably no. Instead, tell them that you’re going to leave soon and ask if there’s anything they’d like to say or do before you go. Likewise, provide a set of structured choices when getting input from children on reasonable bed times, chores, etc.
Independence & Community
Children need to realize their strength and capacity as an individual while feeling that they are a valued and essential component of a larger group. This sense of comfort in a group begins in the family and transfers to other social situations, assisting children in being confident in diverse situations.

In Practice: Have family meetings in which each family member has time to express what they are struggling with or unhappy about. Ask that these feelings be expressed in terms of what s/he would like to see done differently. Avoid arguing about the past and instead focus on the future. Let each person speak without being interrupted (adults as well as children) and give equal value to everyone’s feelings. Let kids give their ideas for how problems might be solved before you jump in and give them your opinion.
Good Communication
Good communication is important in any relationship and essential in families. It is how we connect one to another, ask for what we need as individuals, and develop our personal boundaries. Open lines of communication
empower kids to comfortably and safely confide in us. In addition, they provide us with feedback that helps us structure our support according to each child’s needs and abilities. The breakdown of good communication results in feelings of isolation, frustration and misunderstandings, a high price to pay.

In Practice: Listen to your heart and express your love for your child. When you commend them for a job well done, focus on the characteristics of your child rather than on the characteristics of the task. If you have a complaint, ask the child for his/her own opinion about the situation, then tailor your request to his/her feelings. Beginning when they’re young, ask your child to tell you everything that happened at school. You’ll gain much better insights than with the usual response that school was “Fine.” Instead of punishing your child for telling the truth about something you disapprove of, encourage him or her to tell the truth and discuss the matter in an open, non-reactive manner. You can’t control what happens outside your presence, but you can encourage responsible behavior in the course of open discussions. See our Links pages for great books on how to communicate better with your children (or your co-workers, or your spouse).
Encourage Curiosity
Expect (and help) children to maintain their innate curiosity and love of learning. External motivation reduces a child’s natural drive to learn and explore. Provide an environment in which a child can set and achieve his/her own goals so as to expand the child’s sense of capability and raise self-esteem.

In Practice: Help your child choose a school that supports and promotes his/her unique style of learning and natural curiosity. Ask for change in the present school system to support your child’s personal needs. If your child is bored or miserable at school, s/he will lose interest and the motivation to succeed. Starting as early as kindergarten or first grade, kids are turned off of subjects due to problems with a teacher, the way material is presented, or a curriculum that doesn’t match their level. Keep learning fun by making challenging one another in a non-judgemental way. Ask your child to come up with some challenging story problems you can work on together. Play learning games at home and in the car.
Role Models
Children learn from the physical and emotional health habits of their parents. Children will recognize and adopt healthy boundaries, respect for themselves and others, and good communication when they observe those traits in their parents’ words and actions, even we are struggling internally to do so.

In Practice: Do the best you can to honestly demonstrate high self-confidence, healthy boundaries, good communication and take responsibility for your own decisions and emotions. We all have days that seem tougher than others. Let your child know when you are struggling and express it in feelings, for example, “I feel sad because Grandma died.” This gives our children the right to express their feelings. Let them know they are not responsible for your reactions, and that although you may not like what they did, you still love them. Don’t be afraid of your mistakes, let your difficulties empower your children to risk and make mistakes of their own. When we over react and use our power instead of empowering, apologize and let your child know that they never deserve that treatment from anyone.

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Garrido is the Editor in Chief of North Star Family Matters magazine to Inspire Conscious Parenting and Empowered Kids. Visit her website
and get many more articles and tips and tools for parenting in a healthy way.