Self-Esteem and Emotional Control

How adults can help children develop self-esteem

Self esteem can be defined as a state of feeling happy with one own character and abilities. It can also be described as the extent a child expects to be accepted and valued by adults and the peers he or she is involved with (Katz, 2009). Acceptance by the adults brings about a sense of security to the children. In the early years, children depend on the way the adults in their life judge them. They try to pick up characteristics that are valued by the adults and the people surrounding them. I grew up in a family that was gifted in mathematics and science subjects having parents who are scientist. My siblings were very good in mathematics and sciences. But for me I was better in humanities and in fact I dreaded science subjects. My parents always compared my grades in mathematics with my sisters’ but were not quick to recognize my abilities in other areas. I felt unwanted and rejected and this was a main cause of my low self esteem. I have struggled with problems of self esteem even in high school and now that am in college still I suffer feelings of not being good enough. Ways to help children develop self esteem: Self esteem is developed in children earlier in life by small gestures like being smiled at or being comforted especially when a child is crying. These gestures bring about feelings of being loved and accepted in a family. Self esteem can be developed in areas like in pre-school by children adapting to the regulations and expectation of that small society. Successful adjustment to the society helps in strengthening the feelings of belonging and hence development of self esteem (Katz, 2009). It can also be developed through generous praise. This is done by the use of descriptive praise where by a child is involved with a good thing and is praised in the right way.

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Self esteem can also be developed by teaching a child to have positive self statements. According to psychologists negative self talk causes depression and anxiety. They have also found that our thoughts are determine our feelings which in turn determine our behaviour. Avoiding criticism inform of ridicule especially in presence of peers. Positive criticism is encouraged for better development of children, however, criticizing children in front of their peers and other people they especially regard highly only makes them self conscious and therefore, contributes to low self esteem. Self esteem can also be brought about by developing positive way of putting structures mostly with the teenagers. This trains them to be more responsible and instill in them self discipline for example, establishing curfews. The parent should in all these cases be firm, fair and friendly to be able to develop a positive relationship with their children. When and how to praise a child: Parents should be able to praise their children especially when they have achieved something good. This can be done through Descriptive praise Descriptive praise: It can also be referred to as positive praise. This is done by merely describing what the child has done rather than evaluating it. With this praise the child is able to recognize the positive act she has accomplished and credit herself. Descriptive praise is done in two phases; the first phase is where the parent describes the action that the child has done for example when she is going to the school willingly the parent starts by saying how he can see that she is ready to go to school then describing the events that have culminated in the parent seeing that. After the compliments described, the child praises herself and tries to show the parent how she had to plan ahead and how responsible she is (LeFebvre 2009). In this form of praise the children are given a chance to be able to evaluate themselves especially when they have done something good for others and are able to see how their actions affect others in appositive way (LeFebvre 2009). For example something like Susan see how your friend is smart and happy, it is because you gave him your toys to play with them. This makes a child focus on the impact she has created on that other person. How care giving and culture affect later emotional control: Emotion: this is a part of a person’s character that consists of feelings. Emotion controls is the ability of a person to convert feelings or come up with ways that help in effective management of emotions (Supplee, Skuban, Shaw& Prout, 2009). Emotional control develops as children grow and they are able to come up with suitable ways of dealing with them. Neurological development and environmental factors like interaction with a care giver help a child’s brain in handling emotions in better ways. Children’s emotional control skills are greatly influenced by their socialization during parenting and their interaction with the outside world. Therefore, lack of parental support and responsiveness to children in dealing with their emotional needs brings about negativity and frustration (Supplee, Skuban, Shaw& Prout, 2009). People have come to accept that children should be socialized according to the prevailing success within the culture. These cultural accepted values and expectations for children may influence and modify children’s behavior. Advantages and disadvantages of physical punishment: Advantages of physical punishment: Corporal punishment only punishes the guilty this can be seen when considering other form of punishments like detention whereby it punishes both the student and the parent especially where he or she has two children therefore, forcing her to go for one then later the other this can be seen as a waste of time and resource such as fuel.

It does not waste time as the child is canned there and then goes back to his normal duties as opposed to detention and community service. Disadvantages of physical punishment: It can lead to abuse especially when done often without integrating it with other forms of punishment and also, by increasing the beating which later translates to battering and therefore, increasing the risk of physical abuse. Physical punishment teaches the wrong lessons to children. By inflicting pain it shows that it is a right way to settle differences or solves problems. Therefore, it is a bad example to children who can take up violence to their peers if they perceive them to have committed a wrong deed. Corporal punishment brings strained relationship between the wrong doer and the punisher. If a parent or a teacher constantly uses this form of punishment, it instills fear in a child and therefore, the child might not be able to open up to the parent or the teacher in future.


Benetar, D. (2009). Corporal Punishment. Web.

Katz, L. (2009). How can we strengthen children’s self esteem? From kid source online. Web.

LeFebvre, J. (2009). Praise that builds a child’s self Esteem. Web.

Supplee, L., Skuban, E., Shaw, D., & Prout, J. (2009). Emotion regulation strategies and later externalizing behavior among European American and African American children. Development and psychopathology 21(2): 393-415. Doi: 10.1017/S0954579409000224.

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