The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Body Image & Self-Esteem’
Resources for Parents
Top Tips for Parents
Here are some thing you can do that can really help:
1. Show your child lots of love and be positive about them as a person – tell them what makes them special to you.
2. Set an example of having a positive attitude when faced with challenges.
3. Let them know you value effort rather than perfection. Children can miss out on lots because they don’t try, because they are too anxious about not ‘succeeding’.
4. Encourage them to try new challenges, and celebrate them for it. Phrases like “Well done, that was hard, and you managed it,” are good. Make the steps small at first, then increase the challenges.
5. Help them set goals and make plans for things they’d like to accomplish. Keeping track builds good feelings about each milestone achieved.
6. Let them know they should not to be afraid to voice their ideas and opinions. It’s ok when people disagree, we all see things differently.
7. Give praise for their successes, and don’t focus on areas where they have not done so well. Get into the habit of asking them about three good things that went well today.
8. Reassure them it’s OK to make mistakes and that it’s all part of life. Getting it wrong is not the end of the world and happens to everyone and it’s how we learn.
9. If you are unhappy with their behaviour, tell them, but make clear that you still love them.
10. Acknowledge their feelings and help them express their feelings in words. For example, encourage them to say, “I’m upset because…” or “I feel happy when…”
11. Challenge them when they criticise themselves, so that they start saying things like, “yes I can do this,” instead of “I can’t do this”.
12. Help children discover and develop their talents, through clubs, groups and activities. Finding something they are good at provides a huge boost to their feelings of self-worth. Encourage them to express themselves creatively, through art, drama or music.
13. Get them involved with voluntary or community projects that make a difference to someone else to develop a more positive opinion of themselves.
14. Allocate 20 minutes each day to chat, laugh, and do something together. Our #Take20 Parents’ Hub as 20 activities you could do in 20 minutes.
15. Talk to your child’s school to see if they offer any mentoring or buddying schemes that your child might find useful.
16. If you are worried your child’s low self-esteem is affecting their day to day life, relationships or ability to learn and develop, it is worth seeking professional help. You can talk to your GP, and you can go without them if they would rather not come along with you. It can be helpful to write down what makes you think your child has low self-esteem, and anything you think might be causing it.