This concept is very old and studied but there is no unanimity in its definition. For the most part, they define it as the individual capacity based on the self-assessment that one does on his personality, his potentialities and his capacities. Self-esteem is neither innate nor inherited, it is built from childhood and shaped according to the relationship with others (especially with the parents), the child’s personal expectations to successfully do what is proposed (self-efficacy) and the positive or negative assessment that the person has of himself (self-concept). In addition, it determines a role of great importance in the psychological, cognitive and social development of the person. In short, having a good self-esteem means that the way in which we perceive ourselves and the ideal that we have of ourselves, are very close.

Self-esteem in the FAMILY. The family is a factor that influences the formation of the child’s self-esteem as it is the first social context of the child. This forms his self-concept based on what he observes, hears and lives at home. Excessive comments and criticism, for example, can lead to low self-esteem. In addition, children take into account the evaluations that their parents make of them and they, therefore, parents must work to have a positive impact on the creation of a realistic self-concept and stable self-esteem. Self-esteem in the SCHOOL. It is another important context in the formation of the child, since they spend many hours there and that is where they have their first non-family social relationships. In the first years, the boys / girls are forming their self-concept and depending on the social position they have in the classroom, their personal concept will be more or less influenced. Another factor that influences the formation of self-esteem are the academic qualifications.

Self-esteem based on age:

From 0 to 3 years: the person discovers his body to know the boundary between him and the outside (it is shaping the personal image) and begin to delimit some aspects of his identity such as belonging to a sex or a family. Another factor that influences: the performance of parents with displays of affection and care.

From 3 to 6 years: begins to understand the differences between himself and the rest. Surge “the stage of no” (opposition attitudes) reaffirming his personality. Start judging their actions, especially by the opinions and attitudes of parents. From 6 to 8 years old: at this stage the self-concept begins to be developed, by comparing it with its peers and the judgments that it establishes about its own abilities.

From 8 to 12 years old: at this moment the school plays a crucial role since their self-concept will depend on the comparison with others and the judgments about themselves that the person makes.

From 12 to 16 years old (adolescence): at this age, the self-concept that one has of oneself evolves completely. Self-esteem is no longer affected by external opinions, but rather by the experiences of each one. Self-esteem improves with age. Importance body changes.

How can we promote the self-esteem of our children?

1) Encourage your sense of security (of yourself and your future).

2) Promote your sense of belonging. The person has to feel wanted and accepted by his family, his friends … to avoid feelings of rejection and isolation.

3) Encourage them to have a purpose in life. Give them goals or purposes to achieve, because it is also a way to channel their emotions and their energy. Do not overwhelm or pressure, just guide, advise and accompany.

4) Strengthen your child’s personal abilities and make him / her see that he / she is proud of their achievements, progress and their ability to resolve conflicts or challenges in life.

5) Work with him / her personal strength through positive experiences that stimulate him (sports, travel …) and the use of creativity. Also set appropriate expectations (neither high nor low) so that you gain confidence in him or herself.

6) Remember that a democratic educational style is more effective than imposing things on them or overprotecting them (otherwise we run the risk of reproducing in them feelings of impotence or insecurity).

7) Show yourself open so that your child feels he can trust you and himself. Also, keep what you promise, provide constant support and give opportunities (eg, prepare a family meal for a day or help your brother / sister dress).

8) Allow him to make mistakes and make real decisions (depending on the age and values of the family). Thus, you will feel that you can control the events that arise (we promote personal independence), increase your personal self-control and diminish feelings of uselessness.

9) Praise your children, such as “it was a good attempt on your part”, “you are a good child” or “I see that you are working hard”. In this way, we strengthen their self-esteem and they feel motivated and supported.

10) It is important to work accepting mistakes and failures to avoid feeling embarrassed, defeated or ashamed. Explain that these obstacles are part of life and that everyone makes mistakes and learns from them. Avoid comments like “you’re not worth it”, “you have not worked at all”, etc.

11) Encourage a sense of family self-esteem, encourage family pride! As we have already mentioned, self-esteem starts to build in the family and, therefore, self-esteem is marked by the feelings and perceptions that each family has of itself. This point can be made by including him in community activities, talking about his family inheritance and his ancestors or letting him take care of other relatives. In addition, this can be beneficial for all members of the family, since excessive or unconstructive criticism must be avoided, each member can show off his or her virtues, strengthen family ties and create a “feeling of protection” and confidence. mutual Although different situations or jobs sometimes do not allow it, it is important to take time to spend it with the family (holidays, holidays, etc.).


For more information on the subject: “How to improve your self-esteem” by Nathaniel Branden. “Games to improve self-esteem in children” by Sara Tarrés (online blog).

Alba Prieto Moreno

Psychology Area-Teacher At Home