A dad’s role in building healthy self-esteem

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A key factor in the development of resilience in children and young people is a healthy self-esteem. We want our children to believe – I am capable and confident in myself and my ability to take on challenges and try new things. 

Young people with positive self-esteem are more likely to feel capable and valuable, have healthy relationships with family and friends and are less likely to engage in undesirable behaviours.  

Self-esteem is the way we feel about ourselves. We compare how we see ourselves, and how we believe others see us, with how we would like to be.  

  • Healthy self-esteem is about accepting yourself as you are and feeling comfortable with yourself.  
  • Low self-esteem is about wishing you were different or wishing you were someone else.  

A young person with healthy self-esteem is more likely to display positive behavioural characteristics and have healthy relationships with their peers. They are less likely to be involved in unhealthy or undesirable behaviours.  

Signs of low self-esteem may include: 

  • Negative self-talk and comparisons to others   
  • Focusing on the negatives and ignoring his/her achievements  
  • Avoiding new things and not taking up opportunities  
  • Fear of failure or embarrassment  
  • Low levels of motivation and interest  
  • Not accepting compliments or positive feedback  
  • Shows mixed feelings of anxiety or stress.  


 Top Tips for helping your child build a healthy self-esteem: 

  • Use compliments that are positive but believable. Help them think about their abilities and what they are capable of in a realistic way, e.g. “You are driving so well for someone who is just learning.”  
  • Encourage your adolescent to ‘have-a-go’ at new activities. This will help them get a balanced view of all their strengths and weaknesses.  
  • Build their confidence without making them self-centred. Encourage and support them to dream big and work hard. Let them know you believe in them and are confident they will achieve their goals.  
  • Love them unconditionally and accept them as they are. Tell them you will love them unconditionally regardless of their failures or mistakes. Recognise the process of striving for something as much as the outcome.  

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