Keys to Good Self Esteem: Free Time and a Passion
By Sally Sacks
think the most important thing you can do as a parent is to sponsor
good self esteem in your child. If a child believes in themselves
and feels good about themselves, they can do most anything. One
way to sponsor self esteem is to help children to occupy their free
time in ways that are productive, and to encourage them to not only
play with their friends, but to do something that creates a passion
for them and a meaning in life.
son is very involved in sports, and loves most of them. Although
as a mother I complain about the schedule, and parental driving
obligations, I am so glad that he has this interest and passion.
It keeps him busy and away from more destructive behaviors that
kids often get involved in when they have nothing better to do.
I recently went to my stepdaughter's play, and the cast was so united
and connected as a group. They were planning their next play. Kids
need connections like these. They need help from parents to decide
what interests them if they don't naturally have a specific interest.
kids don't know what they want to do, or don't want to make the
effort. This is often because of fear. They don't think that they
will do well so are afraid to try. As a parent you must talk to
them about that fear, and be aware enough to know that they have
it. Sometimes parents don't pick up on the fear, and just feel that
the child is lazy or a homebody.
can you get your child involved in more things? Talk to them, if
they aren't doing much with their free time, and tell them that
you'd like them to be involved in something special, that they can
call their own. For example, if you wanted your child to take dance,
for the beauty, the movements etc, take them to a dance performance,
and then talk about it afterwards. Take them to a play, and let
them see how others unite as a group, and are praised for their
are eight things to keep in mind to help motivate your kids to reach
out and discover their passion:
Introduce your child to new and exciting things to become involved
2. Encourage them to try something, and be aware of their fear to
3. Tell them a story about when you were scared to do something
and worked to overcome it.
4. Let them know that everyone has fear, and that the challenge
is to overcome it.
5. Keep open communication about the necessity to be involved in
things to succeed in life. Those with no interests and passion don't
go far in succeeding.
6. Teach them about the possibilities in the future for them, so
that they can imagine them, if they were to continue on with their
interest and activity.
7. For example if they are in a play, and do really well, help them
envision how fun it would be to be an actress/actor. Have a discussion
8. Last but not least do interesting things yourself. Children learn
by what they see, not as much by what you say!
actions on your part will spark interests and ideas in your kids.
Once they try something and feel the positive effects of it they
will want more. If what they choose is not right for them, help
them pick something else, and learn from their error rather than
put themselves down. Remember to stay aware if they are quitting
something due to fear. You must differentiate between fear of not
being good enough and actual dislike for something. Usually fear
is a strong motivator to withdraw from something, or to never even
Sally Sacks, M.Ed is a licensed psychotherapist, with 20 years of
experience, counseling individuals, children, families and couples.
Sally is the author of How to Raise the Next President, a groundbreaking
parents' guide to teaching and instilling in their kids the qualities
they'll need to be happy, successful and productive, no matter which
path they choose in life. Sally offers personal and group coaching
and can be reached through her website at www.sallysacks.com.