positive self concept

Ways to Build a Positive Self-Concept in Your Child

Self-concept is the way a person sees themselves, including their abilities, values, and attitudes. A child’s self-concept is vital to their well-being, and a child with a positive self-concept is likely to be more resilient and have better educational outcomes. It can also affect a child’s social and psychological formation.

Self-concept starts to develop in early childhood and is influenced by feedback the child receives from those around them. It is possible during these years for a child to develop a negative self-concept—but if this describes your child, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad parent. There are things you can do to help improve your child’s self-concept.

Encourage Children to Praise Themselves

It is important to encourage children to use positive language to describe themselves and their accomplishments. If a child describes themselves using negative language, it can hurt their feelings of self-worth. Parents should teach their children to accept themselves. You can help by encouraging your child to praise the things they have done and to say what they like about themselves. It’s good for children to recognize their abilities and accomplishments—although you should help them to understand the difference between self-praise and bragging. It’s also a good idea to discourage children from comparing themselves to others; instead, encourage them to do their best. Also, remember to set a good example by doing this yourself.

Model Self-Praise

Your children watch what you do and will learn from you. You can take advantage of this by modeling behavior that can help your child have a positive self-concept. If you talk about your accomplishments and show pride in them, your child will learn that it is acceptable to praise themselves. Next time you find yourself pleased with a specific accomplishment, you could speak about it to your child and let them see you are willing to praise yourself. Be sure you only compare your achievements to your own previous accomplishments, not to other people’s.

Help Your Child Set Realistic Goals

It can be very difficult for a child to fail, but you can help your child to succeed by encouraging them to set realistic goals. Children who set goals and achieve them tend to have a positive self-image. Your child should choose their own goals, although you can help younger children to do this. These should be measurable goals with a clear outcome. This will allow your child to see their progress toward the goal. It is important for your child to track their progress daily. You might want to help your child make a chart to help them visualize this, which can be especially helpful for younger children. You can also teach your child that it is okay to revise their goal if necessary as they progress.

Listen to Your Child

Another way to help your child build a positive self-concept is to listen to them. Giving your child an opportunity to speak and paying attention to what they say shows that you respect them, which can help your child respect themself.

Teach Your Child to Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Children have a better self-image when they feel responsible. It helps a child to feel they are making a contribution to their family, school, or community. Teaching your child to be responsible for their actions can help them to feel important and to become responsible citizens. Here are some steps you as a parent can take to help your child learn to be responsible.

  • Allow your child to make some of their own decisions, and then hold them responsible for the outcomes.
  • Make rules for your child to follow, and have consequences for breaking them.
  • Model responsible behavior for your child by accepting responsibility for any mistakes you make.
  • Compliment your child when they take responsibility for their behavior.
  • Teach your child that they can learn from their mistakes.


It is not easy to help your child to build a positive self-concept, and it takes time and effort. But learning about how to improve your child’s self-concept is a good first step. It’s important to remember that you can help your child develop a positive self-concept, even if it is currently negative. It just takes time. Explore further for valuable insights.

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