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Some Parenting Mistakes That Hurt Children’s Self-Esteem

Some Parenting Mistakes That Hurt Children’s Self-Esteem
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Children need to have a healthy, solid sense of self. Strong self-esteem motivates us to overcome challenges, attempt novel experiences, and have confidence in ourselves. Self-esteem has a significant impact on how we perceive ourselves, which affects our actions and choices. Sometimes the most parents do some parenting mistakes that hurt their children’s self-esteem. We are only human, after all. We occasionally behave inappropriately and say the wrong things.

These parental misunderstandings are frequently caused by parental errors in judgement. Despite the fact that we as parents have good intentions, they might have a negative impact on our children’s sense of self-worth. We must first understand these errors and how they have a negative effect in order to be able to prevent them.

Strong self-esteem motivates us to overcome obstacles, attempt novel experiences, and have confidence in ourselves. Sometimes even the most loving parents unintentionally undermine their children’s self-esteem. You will encourage your kids’ self-esteem more by having good conversations with them.

Some Parenting Mistakes That Hurt Their Children’s Self-Esteem

Some parenting mistakes, such as constant criticism and belittlement that hurt their children’s self-esteem, hindering their confidence and self-worth.

Neglecting to provide unconditional love and acceptance can be one of the parenting mistakes that significantly hurt their children’s self-esteem, leading to feelings of inadequacy and a negative self-image.

Comparing children to others or setting unrealistic expectations can be damaging parenting mistakes that hurt their self-esteem, fostering self-doubt and a fear of failure.

Types of Parental Behaviors that Lower Self-Esteem

1. Harsh Criticism

Parental criticism can be emotionally taxing, especially if it is delivered harshly or in an insulting way. As a child psychologist, I have found that the majority of critical parents are battling concerns that overwhelm their kids. A youngster may experience despair, rage, or frustration as a result of receiving negative words that undermine their sense of worth and self-worth. Children who receive these stern corrections may also become less motivated and less confident in their skills.

2. Overprotecting

A child’s ability to gain confidence and a sense of competence can be stunted if their environment is constantly free from difficulties and impediments. Ironically, parents who are overly controlling stifle their children while trying to do everything in their power to save their children from suffering in life. A child’s opportunities to explore, learn, and make errors, all of which are crucial for their growth and development, may be limited by overprotection.

Overprotecting kids might also make them feel anxious and insecure since they might not feel ready to face the world on their own. Additionally, it may foster a sense of dependency and a lack of independence, which can be detrimental as kids grow older.

To help their children grow into self-assured adults, parents must find a balance between sheltering their kids and letting them take chances and face obstacles. Overprotection’s detrimental consequences can be lessened by promoting independence, elevating self-esteem, and imparting problem-solving abilities.

3. Introducing Guilt

It’s one thing to ask a child how they would feel in your or another person’s shoes in a certain circumstance. But far too frequently, parents go too far and attempt to make their kids feel guilty for their feelings, thoughts, or deeds. Numerous parents have admitted to me that they are attempting to impart life lessons, but that instilling guilt nullifies any guidance they may have. Children may grow distant from parents who use shame as a form of child control.

4. Ironically Speaking

If you say things you don’t mean and suggest the opposite of what you’re saying with your tone of voice, you’re utilizing sarcasm. Children are harmed by sarcasm because it feels humiliating. Parents who are frustrated may communicate in such harmful, damaging ways. Unfortunately, insulting a youngster with sarcasm makes it difficult to attempt and communicate effectively—and it just makes everything feel worse.

As a result of being exposed to the parenting behaviors discussed above, children may lash out later on in ways that are emotionally hurtful and upsetting. This can include tantrums, expressing resentments, frequently being argumentative, and defying reasonable requests. Many children and teens have admitted to me that these negative emotions and behaviors they engage in after feeling hurt by their parents.

How Parents can Avoid Hurting their Child’s Self-Esteem

How Parents can Avoid Hurting their Child's Self-Esteem

Self-esteem plays a crucial role in a child’s development, shaping their confidence, resilience, and overall well-being. As parents, our words, actions, and attitudes significantly impact our children’s self-esteem. Therefore, it is essential to create a nurturing and supportive environment that encourages their growth and self-worth. In this article, we will explore practical strategies that parents can employ to avoid hurting their child’s self-esteem and foster a positive sense of self.

Parents play a pivotal role in shaping their child’s self-esteem. By implementing these strategies, parents can create a nurturing environment that fosters their child’s self-worth, confidence, and resilience. Unconditional love, effective communication, and fostering a growth mindset are essential pillars for promoting positive self-esteem. Setting realistic expectations and encouraging independence allow children to develop a healthy sense of self and a belief in their abilities.

Promote Unconditional Love and Acceptance

Children need to feel unconditionally loved and accepted for who they are. By conveying love and acceptance, parents lay the foundation for healthy self-esteem. It is crucial to separate a child’s actions from their inherent value as an individual. Express affection, offer praise, and acknowledge their efforts rather than focusing solely on achievements. Encourage them to embrace their unique qualities and remind them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow.

Practice Effective Communication

Open and respectful communication is vital for preserving a child’s self-esteem. Parents should actively listen to their children, valuing their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Avoid belittling or dismissive language, as it can erode their self-confidence. Instead, encourage open dialogue, where they can express themselves freely. Validate their emotions and guide them in understanding and managing their feelings constructively. Reinforce the importance of mutual respect by addressing conflicts calmly and teaching problem-solving skills.

Foster a Growth Mindset

Instilling a growth mindset in children helps them develop a healthy attitude toward challenges and setbacks. Encourage them to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Teach them that effort, perseverance, and learning from mistakes are more important than immediate success. Celebrate their progress and improvements, regardless of the outcome. By fostering a growth mindset, parents empower their children to develop resilience, optimism, and a belief in their own abilities.

Set Realistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations can put undue pressure on children and damage their self-esteem. Recognize and appreciate their unique strengths, interests, and limitations. Encourage them to pursue their passions without imposing your own aspirations. Tailor expectations to their developmental stage and capabilities, allowing them to set their own goals and supporting them in achieving those objectives. Remember that each child has their own unique path, and comparisons can be detrimental to their self-worth.

Encourage Independence and Autonomy

Nurturing independence and autonomy enables children to develop a strong sense of self and self-esteem. Encourage them to make age-appropriate choices and decisions, allowing them to learn from both successes and failures. Provide guidance and support while gradually granting them more independence as they grow older. This approach instills confidence, responsibility, and self-reliance, fostering a positive self-image.

Building and maintaining self-esteem is an ongoing process. It requires patience, consistency, and understanding. By cultivating a positive environment and being mindful of our words and actions, parents can ensure that they empower their children to thrive and develop a strong sense of self-worth, enabling them to navigate life’s challenges with confidence.


Your ways of interacting with your child play a huge influence in shaping how they develop self-value in their life. The more you communicate in positive ways, and model being accountable for your negative behaviors, the more you can influence your child to do the same—and support them in having strong self-esteem. Parents must promote a nurturing and supportive environment, providing unconditional love, encouragement, and positive reinforcement to foster their child’s healthy self-esteem.

Also Read: Dealing with Anger in Your Child

Image credit: Yandex.com

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