20 Tips to Promote Success and Positive Self-Esteem

By Richard D. Lavoie

  • Value each child as an individual with unique strengths, needs, interests and skills.
  • Focus on the child’s strengths. Emphasize and celebrate his “islands of competence.”
  • Reject the child’s behavior, but never reject the child. Use affectionate terms and nicknames when scolding, (“Your room is a mess, honey. Now turn off the TV and make your bed.”)
  • Remember that sincere interest can be more effective and meaningful than praise. Demonstrate a genuine interest in her activities, hobbies, etc.
  • Establish realistic, achievable goals for your child. Anticipate success.
  • Avoid using sarcasm with kids – children with language problems often misinterpret it.
  • When discussing an issue or a problem, avoid bringing up past difficulties.
  • Never compare one child to another.
  • Help the child develop decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Understand that mistakes are an inevitable (and valuable!) part of any learning experience. Use these as an opportunity to teach and assist.
  • Divide large tasks into smaller, manageable ones. This will ensure success, mastery and retention.
  • Maintain a file of his academic work. Use this to demonstrate his progress and development when he is feeling down.
  • Encourage him to maintain “collections” (e.g., baseball cards, stamps, rocks, etc.) This allows him to be the resident expert on a topic.
  • If she does not participate in team sports, promote individual sports (e.g., skiing, swimming, golf). This will provide opportunities for success, exercise, and peer interaction.
  • Communicate your confidence in the child and in their future.
  • Permit and encourage the child to follow the normal fads of his peer group (e.g. clothing, music). This will enhance his acceptance at school and in the community.
  • Emphasize the positive aspects of the child’s behavior or performance, even if the task was not completely successful. Reward direction, not perfection.
  • Anticipate that the child will have plateaus, failures, backslides, setbacks and regressions. Support and encourage him at these times. Kids need love most when they deserve it least!
  • Look for opportunities to offer him choices to allow him to practice decision-making skills.
  • Never, ever communicate disappointment to your child. The disappointment of an adult may be too great a burden for a child to carry.