“A child who believes in their own ability is more likely to succeed at school than a child with natural ability who lacks belief in themselves.”
Anthony Gunn, psychologist specializing in treating anxietyThe 2 S.E.s & the 5 Emotional Needs
Self-esteem refers to a person’s sense of self-worth. Children with low self-esteem tend to feel they aren’t valuable, especially to the important adults in their lives. They might frequently say things like, ‘I’m not good enough;’ ‘I can’t do anything right,’ etc.
Yet, self-esteem isn’t the same as self-efficacy. The former is about a person’s sense of self-worth while the latter is defined as a person’s perception about his/her ability to reach a goal. So if your child expresses low self-confidence in completing or attempting a particular task
, e.g. performing in a class show or reading aloud, it is a sign of low self-efficacy. This doesn’t necessarily mean your child perceives him/herself as an unworthy person.
Both self-esteem and self-efficacy are crucial for children to feel emotionally healthy and happy. To help our children attain good emotional health, there are, according to Dr. Newmark (co-founder of The Children’s Project; teacher; consultant; researcher; and author of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children … and Parents Too!
), 5 critical emotional needs we need to pay attention to. Below are the 5 parts summarized from Dr. Newmark’s book: 1) The need to feel respected:
“One of the best ways for children to learn about respect is to feel what it’s like to be treated respectfully and to observe their parents and other adults treating one another the same way.
If we want children to grow up feeling respected and treating others with respect, we need to avoid sarcasm, belittling, yelling: we need to keep anger and impatience to a minimum; we need to avoid lying; we need to listen more and talk less; we need to command less and suggest and request more; we need to learn how to say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘I’m sorry’ – yes, even to children.”2) The need to feel important:
“Feeling important refers to a child’s need to feel: “I have value. I am useful. I have power. I am somebody … Parents need to avoid being all powerful, solving all family problems, making all decisions, doing all the work, controlling everything that happens. Involve your children – ask their opinions; give them things to do; share decision-making and power; give them status and recognition; and have patience with mistakes when it takes a little longer or is not done as well as you could have done yourself.”3) The need to feel accepted:
“… children have a right to their own feelings, opinions, ideas, concerns, wants and needs. Trivializing, ignoring or ridiculing a child’s feelings or opinions is a rejection which weakens the relationship. Paying attention to and discussing them, even when you do not like or disagree with some, strengthens the relationship.”4) The need to feel included:
“Children need to feel included. They need to be brought in, to be made to feel a part of things, to feel connected to other people, to have a sense of community … People who do things together feel closer to one another. Family activities offer a way to become closer and also to have fun, learn, and contribute to others.”5) The need to feel secure:
“Security means creating a positive environment where people care for each other and show it, where people express themselves and others listen, where differences are accepted and conflicts are resolved constructively, where enough structure exists for children to feel safe and protected, and where children have opportunities to actively participate in their own and family evolution through family planning and decision making, problem solving and feedback activities.”
[An extended excerpt on these 5 emotional needs is available here: http://www.emotionallyhealthychildren.org/freeresourcesmedia/five_needs.pdf
Assess your child’s well-being using Dr. Newmark’s survey, too: http://www.emotionallyhealthychildren.org/freeresourcesmedia/well-being_survey.pdf
Check which areas he/she needs more assistance in. Is it in the area of respect? Or the need to feel included? Make a checklist so that there's a more focused direction in helping your child.
Good health to you and your child. See you all next week!