Self-esteem and children

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

Self-esteem is an interesting concept in that it is like love: everyone knows what it is, but no one knows exactly how to define it. Nevertheless, people still study the concept. An article in Pediatric Nursing last month suggested that self-esteem is essential for school-aged children's optimum health. High self-esteem, it was claimed, is linked to increased school performance, improved health, and productive behavior. The reported study looked at the effects of a four-lesson self-esteem enhancement program for six groups of 5th and 6th grade children, a total of 98 children. The interactive lessons dealt with an overview of self-esteem, media influences, hiding emotions, and changes in self-esteem. Using a pre-test/ post-test design, a reliable and valid paper-and-pencil instrument was used to measure self-esteem. Results indicated that the self-esteem subscales dealing with general and social areas were found to significantly increase over time. Girls had more significant changes than boys in the general subscale score and the total self-esteem score. Mean scores showed that children who had friends had more significant changes than those who did not have friends. Children with lower socioeconomic status had lower scores at both the pre and post testing with significance in the general and social subscales. No significance was found related to racial group, family make-up, or the number of household chores or activities.

The conclusions of the authors was that the study supports the effectiveness of a self-esteem enhancement program for girls, those children with friends, and those in lower socioeconomic status. Future research is needed to understand what contributes to the self-esteem of children who report that they do not have friends (and maybe more investigations on boys?).

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.