The development of self image and identity are strongly linked to self esteem. Self image and identity is defined as the individual’s view of their own personality and abilities and the individual’s perception of how other people view them and their abilities. children’s self esteem and confidence can be supported in a number of ways. Try and find something the child is good at or interested in and remember to only set realistic goals with the child.
Treat each pupil as an individual, recognising each has an unique abilities and help them to maximise their individual potential. Encourage the child to focus on what they are good at. Give positive praise for everyone’s work in the class and encourage and display positive personal body language. Try and create an atmosphere where all the children feel included when work or behaviour is being celebrated. Praise should not always be directed at achievement. Being happy and playing nicely with others are also praise worthy.
Always treat children and young people with respect. Provide a positive atmosphere with stimulating play materials is also important in order to support children’s self esteem. Children need the freedom to experiment and fail without being criticised or reprimanded ensure they are aware that it is the behaviour that is unacceptable and not the child. It is also important to build positive relationships with the children based on trust in order to support the development of their self esteem and confidence.
Children and young people vary in their ability to deal effectively with different circumstances and challenges. Encourage children to compare their achievements against their own previous efforts rather than against other pupils. Allow all pupils opportunities to make decisions and choices. Being involved in decision making will increase a child’s self esteem therefore having a positive effect on their well-being. It is important to support resilience in children and young people as it is a major factor that contributes to them growing up into adults that are able to lead successful lives.
Emotional intelligence which is an individuals ability to deal with the highs and lows is an important factor of resilience. Children responses to different circumstances vary. Some children cope and adapt well even in adverse circumstances, while others find even small amounts of adversity difficult to cope with. Resilience has been described as “ the phenomenon of overcoming adversity” Rutter 2000. Having high levels of resilience can cushion children from the worst effects of stress and may help them cope, survive and even thrive in the face of extreme adversity.
It is also important for children and young people to have strategies to protect themselves and make decisions about safety. Children should be encouraged to participate in decision making within the school with regards to safety. Being involved in decisions making will increase a child’s confidence and ultimately their self esteem and well being. Pupils should also be encouraged to trust their own feelings and judgement in potentially risky situations. By learning to trust their own instincts they can learn how to avoid many potential risky situations.
Children and young people can be put under an enormous amount of peer pressure to do something wrong or potentially dangerous such as taking drugs getting drunk or having sex. Try and encourage children to have preconceived limits on what they will and will not do. This will help them to cope better with peer pressure before it arises. Having these strategies in place and having opportunities to take responsibilities or contribute to decision making can empower children and young people so that they can make positive and informed choices that support their well being and safety.