Low self-esteem is something that I understand pretty well. I went through a very awkward phase in my early teens and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I embraced my self-worth and became the confident woman I am today. I have to admit that when I gave birth to my two boys, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to watch them struggle through self-esteem issues the way I once had. But of course, every child has issues with confidence at some point. And because I’m all too familiar with the negative effects that low self-esteem can have on a child, it’s been my mission to help my boys realize their value in the world.
If there is one lesson I have learned that has proven to be true again and again, it’s that modelling a love of self is the best way to ensure that my boys develop the same trait as they grow up. For the most part, that’s a very simple thing to do. I don’t, as a rule, speak negatively about myself. I carry myself with self-assurance. And I show the other people in my life the same respect I am accustomed to receiving, because I want my boys to know that everyone has value.
But what I’ve found most helpful for helping my boys build confidence, especially in the case of my oldest son, is sharing stories of some of my own previous struggles, and the eventual positive results. I remember one night a few years ago when doing just that helped my son conquer some social anxiety. As I was putting six-year-old Zackary to bed, he looked at me and asked, “Mom, why don’t I have a best friend?”