top of page

Developing your Child's self esteem and self confidence.

Developing self-esteem

One of the key life skill areas of the Win Win Parenting program is "Personal Power". The aim is to empower parents with the knowledge and skills to help their children develop their personal power, become resilient and fly through life. Personal power is not about physical strength, it’s about your child’s inner strength, their psychological strength.  Personal power is not about overpowering others, it’s about helping a child feel good inside and secure about who they are so they don’t feel the need to overpower or be like anyone else. In this sense, every parent wants their child to feel good about themselves, value their own uniqueness and have personal power, right?

So what exactly is Personal Power? What does it mean to have Personal Power? Today's blog is all about understanding three fundamental aspects of Personal Power: self esteem, self confidence and self efficacy and how this can help you to raise psychologically and physically healthy children. You may have heard of self esteem and self confidence as these are terms that are commonly used. You may not have heard of self efficacy, but it is an important part of personal power, so read on to find out how it supports your child’s life success.

A lot of parents get very confused about what the terms: Self Esteem, Self Confidence, and Self Efficacy actually mean. Here are some explanations:

Self Confidence

Self Confidence is all about 'Doing'. People can be extremely confident and have no doubts whenever they complete tasks or they can have very low self confidence and feel unsure of their ability to complete a tasks or activity. And of course anywhere in between from overconfident to under confident!

Many parents say, "I really want my child to be self confident." And in the past, I probably would have too. However, after many years of reading and researching about this topic, now I don’t want my child to be highly self confident as a general rule, but what I want is for him to be able to realistically assess his level of confidence right across the spectrum from a very low level of confidence to a very high level depending upon what activity he's doing.

Before I confuse you, let me elaborate. If your child is ‘over confident’ about everything, then he could get into a lot of trouble because he may take unnecessary risks even when he’s unfamiliar with the process or task being performed. For example: a child who gets a new bike and has never ridden a bike and is generally over confident may take more risks than they should.  "Wow! Thanks for my new bike! It’s wonderful! I’m going for a ride!”

Even though this child has not ridden a bike before, if they are overconfident in their abilities they might go to the top of a hill and start riding. As an adult you can see that this could end in disaster. At best, a few scrapes and cuts at worse a more serious injury with a car! Nobody wants to think about that. On the other hand, a child who generally exhibits low Self Confidence is often reluctant to try anything new and that inhibits learning.

Ideally, you want your children to have realistic and varying levels of Self Confidence, depending on what they are doing. We want our children to be confident enough to be unafraid of making the first move and trying new things safely, but at the same time, not to be so overly confident that they won't seek help if they don't know how to do something.

Helping your children to understand these ideas, will help them learn to assess their abilities and skills more realistically and evaluate the risks they can safely take for a given situation. Ideally you want your children to achieve a balance between trying new things and learning, but doing it safely!

It is important to say that in general, men and women have quite different approaches here. Have you noticed in general (obviously this is not true in every instance) that fathers are more likely to encourage their children to take greater risks and mothers are more likely to encourage their children to play it safe. So it’s very helpful just be aware of that when you disagree! The important thing to remember is that raising a child who has personal power and is resilient needs a balance between the two.

OK, now you know that self confidence is all about ‘doing’. So what is self esteem?

Self Esteem

Self Esteem is a completely different matter. Self esteem is not about ‘doing’ it is about ‘being’. To help you understand more about what Self Esteem is, have a go at this exercise. Do you remember the very first day you held your baby in your arms? You looked at your baby and it was an awe-inspiring moment. Your baby was beyond beautiful – the most perfect being.

Now stop and think back to that moment - what was your child doing? I'll tell you; probably doing absolutely nothing ‘special’ just looking up at you, waving their arms around and if you’re lucky, maybe a smile and the moment was amazing. Your saw your child as a special person most importantly, they were special without doing anything – they were just being themselves and by just being, your child is already amazing! Each person is a miracle of creation and life, which is the being part of every one of us.

Self Esteem is a judgement about ourselves and is about the 'Being' part of ourselves (not the doing part). The fact that we are alive, we can move your fingers, see, walk, and talk is incredible in and of itself. Because every human being from the time they are born and throughout their life is unique and valuable being in the world of creation, means that each and every person has the right to have good Self Esteem simply because they exist. Every person is a miracle!

Take a moment right now to just appreciate your life.

Think about it - there's blood pumping around your body. You're growing hair and replacing millions of cells throughout your body all the time. How amazing! You have unlimited potential of how your are going to choose to be in the world, which gives you the birth right of good self esteem. Your child doesn't have to do or be anything or look a particular way in order to have good self esteem. Self Esteem is about feeling good about who you are. Self-esteem is a judgment about yourself. So it is so important to help your child see that they have the right to have a good judgment about themselves and sail through life with good self esteem.

Self Efficacy

Self Efficacy is a term that is not used as much in everyday language so you might not have come across it before. Self-efficacy, alongside self esteem and self confidence is an important part of personal power.

Self Efficacy is a combination of Self Esteem and Self Confidence. For example, when I first became a mother, I didn't know much about Parenting but I knew a lot about studying and researching, so the part of me that is my Self Efficacy said, "I don't know about much about raising a child. I have very low confidence with parenting, but I know that I can learn all about child development and parenting with some help and by doing some research." And that's what Self Efficacy is; the belief in yourself, your ability to do something or be something you aren’t yet but aspire to be, and your willingness to do what it takes to accomplish your goals. If you believe you can do it, and you take the steps needed, you have the personal power to achieve your dreams. You can help your child to understand how to develop belief in themselves and empower them to achieve their goals.

So now that you know the difference between Self Esteem, Self Confidence, and Self Efficacy, you can help your child to unconditionally love and accept themselves for the amazing being that they are (self esteem); help them develop the skills to accurately assess their confidence with a tasks (self confidence) and finally help them to develop self efficacy to believe in their ability to be the best they can be and do what they love by believing in themselves and having the courage to learn and to grow and to keep going until they achieve their dreams!


bottom of page