Article in brief: the author explains how a child living in a nurturing home during his/her early years can develop a strong sense of self-esteem that will reflect on their progress throughout their childhood and prepare them to manage their work and relationships in their adulthood.
“Self-esteem is the sum of self-confidence and self-respect. It reflects your implicit judgment of your ability to cope with the challenges of your life (to understand and master your problems) and your right to be happy (to respect and stand up for your interests and needs)”. 
Positive self-esteem is a cardinal requirement of a fulfilling life. How we feel about ourselves affects our experience in life which is engraved during our childhood. It’s very important for any child to feel good about him/herself; this will help him/her feel worthy and competent which can last for a lifetime.
It is easily noticeable when we see adults who always seem to have doubts about their abilities; they cannot function properly when they encounter a new experience since they were not taught how to master life skills during their childhood. The false belief about unworthiness weakens their self-esteem and confidence where they continuously live in doubt.
Those who are convinced that they cannot be loved or considered not good enough may end up in relationships with people who are emotionally abusive which will further damage their self-esteem. Consciously, they might admit that they deserve better, yet they continue to stay with them and try to get their approval because they think that they do love them and the false belief that no one else will. These people suffer from low self-esteem. Not surprisingly, if we could look back to their childhood, we will find out that most of the false beliefs were inferred from behavior of family and events they’ve gone through.
Educators believe that high self-esteem plays an essential role in academic achievement. Students with high self-esteem are capable of influencing others’ opinions; they are able to communicate positive feelings about themselves and they are aware that whatever happens to them is the result of their actions. On the contrary, students with low self-esteem always practice perfectionism, overly dependent on others and have difficulty in making decisions.
Every day in a child’s life there are opportunities to either build or break their self-esteem. Parents can help build their children’s self-esteem by remembering to praise their children for their effort and not only the result of their actions. Parents should avoid saying things like “why didn’t you get a full mark” and instead say “I know how hard you worked, and I’m really proud of the effort you’ve put into your studies this year”.
Children are born without social knowledge or social skills but they imitate both or one of the parents to acquire life skills. For children, parents are considered their first teachers and role models. They usually learn by seeing how their parents behave and treat their surroundings. So if parents are treating others with respect and handling their problems with confidence, children are more likely to respect the feelings of others and handle their problems without any frustrations.
Parents should give children the tools that help them deal with their problems on a daily basis. For instance, if your child fails a test, the best thing is to handle their emotions and make them feel confident that they are in control to get a better grade next time. In this case, parents can empower their kids and teach them the skills they need to handle their disappointments.
Children usually develop self-esteem by doing new hard things and not just doing the same thing over and over again. When they are able to accomplish a new task that is considered very challenging, it builds their self-esteem. But when a child does the same action he used to do repeatedly in the past, it’s no longer a noteworthy action to be proud of and definitely it won’t build their self-esteem.
A child who is living in a nurturing home environment is more likely to learn the actions that support self-esteem along their lifetime. In such an environment, children are given security and opportunity to discover themselves and their world. Help your children to be bright in the future, let them grow up with the idea of having a powerful mind that is a creative gift, which they need to learn to use to work for them and not against them.
 Nathaniel Branden (1987). How to Raise Your Self-Esteem. United States and Canada : Richard Rossiter . p5-10.
Written in collaboration with Arabian Child organization. Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.
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A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.