14 Ways To Teach Your Daughter Self-Esteem
Does your daughter seem to hate herself? Does she think the world would be a better place without her?
Your daughter may be adorable, smart, and all around amazing. But sometimes she just can't see it in herself. We have all struggled with self-worth and self-esteem issues. Sometimes our past struggles make it easier to "teach" self-esteem. Other times our own histories can make it particularly difficult to teach self-worth.
In fact, teaching self-worth might not even be possible because it comes from within. If you can't teach self-worth to your daughter, the best thing you can do is teach her how to find it from within. It takes practice, and it takes perseverance.
Here are 14 ideas and ways to teach self-worth to your daughter.
1) Community Service
Try to get her involved in community service activities. Maybe the best source of esteem is being able to provide someone else with love and help. Instead of worrying about new trends, fitting in, or good looks, when we serve our attention is focused on having a positive impact in the world.
2) One on one time
Find someone you know who can pull the fairy godmother treatment with her. Find a way to highlight what she is good at with an activity together, and then find a way to highlight what is beautiful about her with a chance to find something (an outfit, a cat hat, a poster) that can help her feel uniquely herself. Also, if there is something that she is having particular trouble with herself (weight or some other physical attribute, a speech issue, a difference in mental or emotional processing) it may be helpful to teach her that it is extremely helpful to have those things, whatever they are, that bother her, because they are Instant Jerkface Detectors. Someone calls you fat? Now you know that you don't need to waste your time with that person. Someone makes fun of you for speaking weird? Now you know not to waste your time talking to them. Someone is a jerk because some things are difficult for you? Now you know who not to waste time with when you need help. It doesn't mean you should be mean back, but it does mean that you can leave that time and space open in your life for people who aren't jerk faces.
3) Use examples
The first way, and one of the best, is to show her examples from your own life that apply to the situation. Tell your daughter about times when you tried and failed (or weren't good), but then practiced and improved.
Ideally, you can find someone from the local community who has persevered through failure. Someone that is now well-known or respected. Maybe an artist, a musician, a public speaker, or a scientist.
4) Is she an independent introvert?
Lots of times our personality types come into play. Is the root of the problem partially rooted in the fact that she is independent and doesn't see the need to please anyone? If she is an introvert, it can be a good idea to learn more about herself.
If indeed she is introverted, she (and you) absolutely must read the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain via Amazon. Maybe even consider reading this book aloud to her! Bonding time!
5) Trying new things
What does she do for fun and is there something new that she is interested in trying? Sometimes kids aren't challenged enough and they miss having those rewarding moments of getting better at something? Sport? Art? Chess? Martial arts?
6) Take a martial arts class
"Learning and mastering a new skill, such as martial arts, has psychological benefits including raised feelings of self-esteem and self-efficacy." Studies have been conducted that show students of martial arts also have higher self-efficacy and self-esteem rates than the average person. Richman & Rehberg (1986) conducted a study where they tested 60 martial artists right before a huge tournament. The best performers were the ones with the highest self-esteem.
7) One on one time
Make time to do things outside your homeschool. Even though you may spend all day with her, make her feel special for "occasions." It can be just like date night, but with your daughter. It's really no different than "date night" with your husband.
If your daughter doesn't think she is g
8) Who does she want to be when she is really old?
Have a conversation about what she would like to see in herself. What skills or personality traits would show herself she is competent, capable, and important?
A quick moment of personal reflection - something that has helped me with similar issues of self-worth, is to think about what kind of person I want to be when I am really really old.
Consider the very least years of your life. What do you want to be able to reflect upon and say you did? Now, put that reflection into action! What can I start doing (or maintain) at this very moment to help me achieve that goal?
9) Start gardening and baking
If she hasn't started cooking or gardening, this is a perfect opportunity. Cooking and baking very simple things like oatmeal, sandwiches, and pasta can give a sense of accomplishment! because I didn't have to prepare my kids food which I appreciate! I also have my kids do the talking when I'm out running errands because I seriously don't feel like it! It takes a load off of me so my kids feel happy and helpful about that. Even when we cross the street I have them
(This also provides a nice reprieve from cooking your kids food!)
If you have suitable land or an existing garden, get her out and gardening! There are so many benefits of gardening for all ages - responsibility, pride, accomplishment, self-worth, self-esteem, physical exercise, good hormones, the list goes on and on.
10) Competence breeds confidence
Part of the reason why gardening, baking, and martial arts are great solutions is because they breed confidence. Of course, there are many other ways to breed confidence.
Start off by having her help you with all sorts of different things. Never expect her to master something within one day.
11) Look at her diet & health
What does her diet look like? What are her sleep patterns? Is she taking vitamins? Vitamin C, B?
Watch out for foods she may be allergic to. If she craves a certain food or kind of food, she is probably allergic to it. There are some foods that are specifically known to help with depression.
There are the top 5 supplements (via Amazon) that help with mood and depression:
- NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU in Organic Olive Oil
- L-Theanine - 100 Grams
- 5-HTP by NOW Foods
- Ultra Omega 3 by NOW Foods
- Nature Made Super B Complex Full Strength Softgel
12) Read The Optimistic Child
This book, The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience by Martin E. P. Seligman on Amazon, was recommended to us by a therapist. The book helps adults understand the difference between depression in kids and adolescents and normal "unhappy" feelings.
Of course, our therapist said something much more eloquent than "unhappy feelings," but I'm not a psychologist and so it suffices. This book will also help you understand different coping mechanism. The knowledge from this book will allow you to better understand and assist your child.
13) See a therapist
If you can afford a therapist, it can often solve the issues in several months. Even short-term work with a professional can help children learn to soslve the root of the problem.
14) Show her successful homeschoolers
Do her self-esteem or self-worth issues stem from her identity as a homeschooler? I have seen several cases when young women were ostracized in social situations because they were homeschooled. Sometimes doing something different can make you stick out. Showing your daughter examples of successful homeschoolers may help her remove some of her self-worth doubts. Here are three examples from Homeschool Base alone:
- Homeschooler Started Her First Novel At Age 12; Published Author At 16
- This 19-Year-Old Homeschool Alum Just Became Ontario's Youngest Ever Elected Member of Parliament
- 13 Year-Old Virtuoso Explains Why Homeschooling Is The Key To His Success