Written By: Shefun Jiwani-Ali
As a parent, you want your child to feel good about themselves, and to grow and feel fulfilled throughout their young adult and adult years. Self-esteem is vital towards this goal, as it will allow for confidence and determination to be built upon a solid foundation. I am constantly amazed at the confidence and self-esteem of. In fact, it was what first attracted me to the philosophy. Children in a Montessori environment have many opportunities each day to continuously build their confidence. It is widely known that this confidence leads to academic, social as well as emotional success later in life. Self esteem is essential There are 5 ways to work with your child right now to nurture exactly such a sense of high self-esteem:
1) Every child is unique, and that uniqueness needs to be embraced
A core concept of Montessori, it is also something that should be embraced. Each child has their own sense of the world, and the most difficult point is that sometimes their view will be different than yours. A parent tends to encourage the things they agree with and discourage things they do not agree with. Care must be taken, however, to not discourage a child’s true talent or interest. If your child likes to dance, and you disagree with dance, sometimes swallowing one’s pride and encouraging that dancing may lead to your child having a long and enjoyable career as a dancer in their adult life. Since most children try to aim to please a parent, there are plenty of adults that are not happy in their careers because they pursued careers that they thought their parents wanted for them, instead of the one that would have made them truly happy. As a general rule of thumb, passionate people who genuinely love their work tend to have more successful careers.
2) Encourage personal responsibility
Instead of telling a child what to do, offering a choice and/or opportunity to express their opinion and giving them the opportunity to express leaders, teaches a child how to think, not what to think. The Montessori Method is all about critical thinking, problem solving, and self-determination. Equip a child with that skillset early, and you will see a self-disciplined and determined young child. This also encourages a child to think for themselves rather than “follow the crowd” and give in to peer pressure when older.
3) Contribution from everyone is important
Western society is built upon the concept of the community. It is the reason we collect multiple smaller communities into towns and cities. The more your child learns that even the smallest person can contribute in their own way, the more self-esteem they will generate. Being helpful is one of the greatest ways to make a person feel valuable. Think back to the last time that you helped someone, and how good it made you feel afterwards, and the importance of contribution becomes almost self-evident.
4) The self is the most important concept
Not to be confused with orienting behavior towards self-aggrandizement, this point is more along the sense of the common Western saying that “the only opinion that means anything about you, is your own.” When a child begins to think that another person’s opinion of them is more important than their own, a great rift can be caused by that child gives up who they truly are in order to be liked by others. There is a delicate balance to promoting a healthy self-awareness while also respecting the opinions of others, and by learning that concept early in life, a child is well equipped for later life.
5) Being proactive
Everyone has been there: feeling powerless because of a situation that could have been avoided or resolved before it occurred. One of the best ways to develop your child’s sense of self-empowerment is to explore many solutions to a problem before it becomes a larger issue. Working through each solution, weighing benefits and consequences, and choosing the best solution that serves the interest of everyone involved will instill a sense of esteem and responsibility. By tackling multiple small problems as they occur, they cannot gain momentum and roll together into one large problem. If a larger problem does occur, your child will be able to logically and confidently come to a resolution without falling prey to the weight of the issue at hand.