Parents who help their child develop a healthy self-concept, or a sense of being worthwhile, are giving their child one of the most fantastic gifts imaginable. Self-concept is the sum total of all the beliefs an individual holds about herself. How is self-concept developed? It is not something we are born with. Rather we develop self-concept over time. It results from our interpretation of the events that occur in our lives, and from our successes and setbacks in coping with life’s challenges.
The home and family provide the primary context for self-concept development. Homes where each family member is valued, where there is freedom to take risks, and where there is permission to grow and change are likely to produce high self-concept in children. On the other hand, the chances of low self-concept increase when the home and family atmosphere is characterized by teasing and blaming. Yet parents do not deserve all the credit if a child develops high self-esteem or all the blame if she develops low self-esteem.
It is the child’s own interpretation of what is occurring that determines self-esteem. And, for whatever reason, some children persist in taking in all the “bad me” date while filtering out the good messages—or vice versa. You can do something worthwhile every day—listen to your children. And, let them know, in no uncertain terms, of your love for them.