Journalist | Mom of Two
Your children are the most important thing in the world to you, so it goes without saying that you’ll want to help them navigate their way through childhood without developing low self-esteem and to ensure that they don’t experience bullying in any capacity. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reports that approximately five percent of children and adolescents in the general population suffer from depression, exemplifying the fact that it’s far from non-existent in our society.
Here are some effective ways to help prevent bullying and issues surrounding low self-esteem in kids.
Encourage your kids to read
Reading has a range of benefits for anyone who does it regularly, and it’s a great activity to encourage your children to do. Whether you read with them or if they read on their own, it’s bound to have a positive effect on their minds. Regular reading can help to prevent or treat anxiety and low self-esteem, help children relax and sleep better, and it can also make them more imaginative.
The more creative your children are, the less likely they are to become depressed, be bullied, or to bully others. Being creative and allowing your children to express themselves can instill self-confidence, give them a sense of purpose, and quite simply will make them happier! Activities such as dancing, playing a musical instrument, painting, or acting all help to prevent or even help heal your child from symptoms of anxiety, so the more creative and expressive they are, the better!
Encourage positive peer relationships
Helping your kids facilitate positive relationships with their peers will help to reduce their chances of developing low self-esteem or of being involved in bullying. Children with healthy friendships are proven to be more emotionally and psychologically resilient. This is because friendships teach them to cope with emotional setbacks in a healthier way. While you don’t want to instill a mindset in your children that they need a high quantity of friends, you should encourage them to be a caring friend and teach them how they can support others.
Let them play outside!
Kids need fresh air, so letting them play outside is a great way to keep them healthy, happy, and fit. One great outdoor activity that can help to mitigate the risk of depression is gardening. This activity not only gets them outdoors, but it also is a fulfilling activity where they can work towards a goal and end up with a finished product. This will prompt them to feel proud of their work and happy with themselves! Gardening is an enjoyable activity and one that instills confidence and a sense of self-worth.
Help your children through setbacks
Everyone experiences setbacks, and it’s important to help your kids work through theirs. Amidst a failure, first remind them that the setback is temporary and that before they know it, the pain they are working through will be a distant memory. Also help them to see that the setback is specific to a designated time and place, and that it does not define them or mean that everything they do will result in the same outcome. This is inevitable throughout life, so you’ll want to teach your kids from an early age how to appropriately deal with them and how to move on effectively.
You will also want to help your kids work through differences that they notice about themselves. Everyone has something that sets them apart, whether it be a physical trait, a personality quirk, or something inherently about them. For instance, one child recalls being picked on because she was much taller than her peers and because she had an affinity for science. While this was hard at first, she learned to put her differences and talents to good use and overcame the hurdle.
Kids don’t always understand differences. Help by talking with your children often about how their differences are a good thing and by discussing what to do if someone picks on them. Fostering an open and honest relationship will help ensure that they come to you if bullying becomes a problem. Furthermore, empowering them to embrace and celebrate their differences can help develop their self-esteem.
Instilling in your children a sense of confidence, self-worth, and allowing for self-expression are all great ways to combat the dangers of bullying and instills healthy levels of self-esteem and confidence. Nurturing them and creating healthy habits from a young age will ensure a healthy mind and happy life for you and them, which is really all you can ask for!
About Amy Williams
Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. Follow Amy on Twitter here.
Use this Stop Cyber Bullying Guide for cyberbullying stats, a quiz and a printable certificate of completion.