Positive Sense of Self
About This Module
When children bully other children they tend to target what is different about them.
These differences can be anything from race and religion to whether your child has the latest stuff or not.
This module is all about helping your child have a positive sense of who they are and feeling happy in their own skin. Our three strategies will help your child build their confidence and self-esteem as you work through this module. You’ll be teaching your child to recogonise and be proud of the things they’re good at, work on their self-talk so that the voice in their head is working for them and not against them and focussing on helping them to reflect on any hurtful comments a bully says to them by letting them choose how they feel about it, rather than simply choosing to take what the bully says as true.
All this means that those hurtful, personal attacks either made a by a bully or just an off the cuff comment won’t stick, leaving the bully without the reaction they’re seeking. Disarming the bully when your child says they really like whatever it is the bully teased them about is a truly powerful tool to give your child.
What You’ll Learn
Build your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Build a sense of pride by teaching your child to recognise things they’re good at.
Teach your child to have positive self-talk.
“WeParent is brilliant. It’s amazing to see the change in my kids. We love the strategies and they really help us out. Totally recommend it!”
Our step-by-step, easy to follow strategies are designed by our team of psychologists. Unlimited access to all our strategies is available in your WeParent Membership.
FIND POSITIVE SKILLS
When bullying strikes it can really dent your child’s confidence, leaving them feeling powerless. Part of having that positive sense of self is by recognising what we are good at and building a sense of pride in through these activities. This strategy focuses on the small changes you make that will show great results for your child.
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Your child’s self talk is their most powerful weapon against bullying. Your child’s self-talk is largely formed by what they hear about themselves from their parents. Teach your child to feel good in their skin and make them bully proof!
A LIFELONG SKILL EVERY CHILD NEEDS
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We can’t stop our child hearing nasty things. But you can stop them being affected. Mindful reflection teaches your child to listen objectively to things that are said about them and choose whether to take them as fact. Teach your child to rise above bullying.
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Psychology Fun Facts
What is Sense of Self?
In psychology, a ‘sense of self’ or self-image is defined as the way a person thinks about and views their own actions, beliefs, strengths and purpose within the world.
Why is sense of self important?
Having a sense of what you’re good at and what you can do and can’t do yet, is the very beginning of our children knowing who they are in the world. It is vital to making friends and ultimately is a building block to having positive self-esteem.
Sense of self is a vital friendship skill. Children select friends whose sense of self appears to match their own. Sharing interests, abilities and values represent a similar sense of self and helps children to form long lasting friendships.
In young children, a healthy sense of self contributes to good sharing, taking turns and starting to resolve conflict on their own.
Why is self-esteem important in child development?
Many adults struggle in life with low self-esteem. One cause of low self-esteem is an underdeveloped sense of self in early childhood. You can help your child build healthy self-esteem by helping them develop a positive sense of self during childhood.
Infants have yet to develop a sense of self. They simply exist in the world and to their young minds they can have little or no impact on what happens around them.
Then, gradually they start to realise they can have an impact on what happens. Little things are where it starts. Baby smiles at Mum, causing Mum to smile back. Baby throws their toy off the highchair, Mum picks it up. Do it again, and Mum picks it up again. This is your baby learning their actions cause other actions. This is called agency.
Children Learning about Agency
One early concept we learn by the age of 3 is called Agency. This is basic cause-and-effect. i.e. if I do something, it can cause something to happen. Toddlers are new to this and often don’t fully understand that their actions cause other people to react.
An easy example is, a toddler takes a toy from his friend, his friend cries. A toddler is still learning that taking the toy made his friend cry. The toddler who took the toy very likely doesn’t realise his actions caused his friend to cry.
Sense of Self as a Toddler
Toddlers have very limited sense of self. They don’t view themselves as being good at things or bad at things, there are just things I do and things others do for me.
Toddlers start to learn that some of their actions can please their parents and others displease their parents.
Sense of Self at 3-5 years
During early childhood, children start to describe themselves using words. I have long hair. I am a girl. I can run fast. I am 3.
This act of describing themselves is a developmental milestone for children. It shows they are starting to develop their sense of self and can distinguish themselves from others.
At this age, there is very little concept of better or worse, just different.
Sense of Self at 6-8 years
During the mid-childhood years, our sense of self develops further. Children are starting to see all the things in the world that can be done and sort them in their minds by what they can do and what they can’t do. For example, dress myself – can do, drive a car – can’t do.
Often children talk of ‘can do now’, ‘not yet’ or ‘can do when I am bigger’.
In a nutshell, sense of self is an intuitive skill which our children learn themselves. As a parent, we can monitor our child’s progress on developing sense of self and help them along the way when needed.
A parent can encourage their child’s sense of self by giving descriptive praise, such as “You can wash your hands by yourself now.”
There are two main reasons a child may be falling behind on their sense of self.
Firstly, your child may naturally focus on what they can’t do rather than what they can do. This could be learned from modelling your approach to life or from their natural disposition.
Secondly, you may be focusing too much on what they can’t do and criticising their failures rather than focusing on praising what they are already good at.
You can help your child to develop a positive self-esteem by helping your child to evaluate its actions according to standards that you pass on to your child.
A child develops a positive self-esteem when 80% of the feedback the child receives is positive, and less than 20% of the feedback is negative or critical. Low self-esteem develops when a child is exposed to a high proportion of criticism or negative feedback.