Building children's self-concept and self-esteem

Building children's self-concept and self-esteem

There is a proverb that said the following:

“A Native American grandfather was talking with his grandson about his feelings and thoughts. Then he said: “I feel like two wolves were fighting in my heart. One wolf is violent and vindictive and the other is loving and compassionate. The grandson asked him, what wolf will win in the fight of my heart? And the grandfather replied: the one you feed ”. Black Hawk

What a great truth, right? There are many factors in us that "fed" by ourselves or by the people around us, will have an impact on our personal construct: What we are and if we like how we are can decant our personal worth to like and love us or otherwise, contribute to a fragile and unbalanced "I".

Since childhood there are two aspects: the selfconcept and the self esteem that play a fundamental role in the person that we will be later.

Today I would like to talk about the importance of the development of a healthy self-concept and a balanced self-esteem is not only us, but also in all those people who have children.


  • 1 What is self-concept?
  • 2 What is self-esteem?
  • 3 How can we contribute as parents and educators?
  • 4 Guidelines for educators and parents

What is the self concept?

It is a construct in psychology that allows answering the question: Who I am?

As a mental construct, it evolves with the child's development, therefore it is changing and will be strongly influenced by the family as the main factor.

As parents it is important to understand that not only must it be something changing but it must be enriched to build healthy protective factors for the child.

The self-concept does not begin to build until the child is not aware that it exists for others, since social development is linked, that is, to the development of relationships, therefore for its evolution and success the basic role of good communication will be fundamental.

Being a social concept will be of great complexity and therefore should always be understood as the result of a set of factors.

What is self-esteem?

In psychology it is a concept that answers the question:How much do i love myself

It responds to the evaluation we make to ourselves about the qualities, thoughts, successes and failures we achieve.

Just like self-concept is a changing construct and family, once again it will play its most important role.

Mainly the self-esteem is formed by multiple and complex components:

  • Physical assessment: Perception that one has of oneself, both of their physical appearance and of skills based on physical competencies.
  • Academic assessment: Result of experiences based on successes and failures.
  • Social assessment: Consequence of social relationships, ability to solve social problems, adaptation to the social environment and acceptance of others.

How can we contribute as parents and educators?

The family is not a factor but the main one, it will be the basis for the balanced building of our son.

Parents and educators are for the children a model of how they want to be. There is a process of admiration between the two, at the same time as this union, it will be the basis of growth (building on a solid base).

We must have the function that the family is a factor of protection and safety for our children, it must be understood as a space of trust (communication), esteem, gratitude and hope for our children. Contributing to balance the real self (who I am) with the self of the mirror (who I would like to be).

Build quality relationships not quantity, a balanced self-esteem and self-concept allows solid relationships, of complicity leading to establish a stronger bond with us and less chance of being damaged by bad or toxic relationships.

Creating quality relationships will differentiate them from toxic or bad relationships while creating favorable communication that helps give children the right tools to deal with certain imbalances of low selfsteem (lie and avoidance) or high self-esteem (problems of lack of empathy, hierarchical relationships leading to a narcissism).

It is very important, as parents, educators, responsible for a society to establish values ​​such as unconditional love, trust in our children and truth as the basis for a complete and balanced behavior.

Guidelines for educators and parents

There are many guidelines and techniques to contribute to a child's balanced self-concept and self-esteem, some of the most effective and simple are:

  1. The mirror technique: especially in the first years it can be really positive that our children, students, children become aware of who they are. The technique of the mirror is to put the child in front of the mirror at the same time as you out loud, you are expressing simple and concrete phrases about who you are, how dear or dear you are and how older encourage them to fight, love and not let themselves be belittled . It will help you to get to know each other and cope with the experiences in a healthier way, to help you be aware of who you are and the importance of being unique and loved unconditionally.
  2. Facilitate expression of emotions give them tools to learn to channel them correctly and reduce the degree of frustration
  3. Avoid comparisons, unconstructive labels and criticisms
  4. Try not to overprotect them and give them resources to participate in increasingly important decision making.