7 Ways to Boost Children’s Self-Esteem | Parenting

There are probably 70 ways to boost children’s self-esteem, but I’ve narrowed it down to 7:

  1. Spend time with your kids.  Kids don’t really care as much about quality time as just plain old time.  They want to be around you, they feel safe around you, they feel good about themselves around you.
  2. Enjoy their company.  Find some common interests to share.  When my kids were toddlers they loved seeing mom trying to roll down hills, do somersaults, etc. with great difficulty.  They’d wallow in showing clumsy mom how great they were at tumbling around.
  3. No insincere praise.  (“Stop Praising your Kids for Everything”)  Kids are great crap detectors.  They know when they’re great at something and when they’re not.  If you praise them for picking their nose they’re not going to believe you when you’re praising them for a real accomplishment.  Actually I’m kinda guilty of this with my 27 year old son as I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like to.  He walks the room and I become this pathetically over indulgent mother.  He hates being fussed over and says, “Get a grip Mom, all I did was blink and you’re acting as if I cured cancer!”
  4. Give them chores and responsibilities.  You have to give children something to be proud of, something to make them learn about self-discipline.
  5. Give them choices.  My Mom was the queen of this.  She never told me what to do, it was always about giving me choices.  Of course that’s exactly what I did with my kids as it makes them self-disciplining plus gives them a huge sense of confidence and pride.  You are the master of the choices though.  “You can eat all your vegetables and watch TV or not eat your vegetables and not watch TV … your choice.”  I never questioned this, nor did my kids.  We all just grew up understanding that we were responsible for how our lives went.
  6. Praise them just as much for trying and failing as succeeding.  There is no shame in losing, just in not trying.  Make your kids try everything and praise them for being outgoing, adventuresome and open minded.  Poor sports are built on a base of thinking that success is everything.
  7. Teach them that no one’s perfect.  Perfection is impossible and those who strive to appear perfect are boring.  Teach your children to be confident enough to be comfortable with their imperfections.
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Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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The Quickest, most Effective way to increase your Child’s Self-Esteem

The quickest, most effective way to increase your child’s self-esteem?



If you find what your child is proud of and encourage that, it will help them navigate through life with higher self-esteem and self-confidence.  Those qualities will make them bully proof and also make them strive for greater things in life.

Children are not necessarily proud of things they’re good at.  You may have a son who’s brilliant at math but what he’s really proud of is his ability to make people laugh (that was my son).

I worked with teens who had very little to be proud of yet when I found something that I could see they were proud of, that instantly become my #1.  Once they were given permission to not be good in academics, but to be great at drawing or whatever, everything else fell into place.  Their grades improved right along with their self-esteem.

Pride is a funny thing.  Sometimes you have to work to encourage and nurture it in your children.  Don’t focus on what’s important to you, but rather what’s important to them.  It may be the same thing, but maybe not.

All the other stuff like school, chores, etc. are important too, but they’re not everything.

Think about this, what is your child proud of, and are you complimenting and encouraging them with this?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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How to Deal with Tantrums, Meltdowns, Flipouts, Freakouts, Scenes, etc.

Some of us are prone to tantrums, others aren’t.  My son had tantrums whereas my daughter never had one.  Tantrums in children can turn into adults with bad tempers.  But if handled correctly, they’ll not only stop having tantrums as children, but they’ll be less likely to have bad tempers as adults.  You’ll have taught them self-control.

“I just don’t understand why parents can’t control their kids.”  … said person with no kids.

I totally understand why parents can’t control their children, they just haven’t learned the skills required.  There’s a huge learning curve to parenting.  Few parents say they’d do it all the same if given a second change.  Lucky for me I’d practiced on tons of other people’s kids before having my own which gave me an edge.  I probably left a trail of destruction behind me but no one ever complained, not to my face anyway :).

So, how do you deal with someone having a tantrum?  It’s the same with toddlers right through to adults for the most part.  You just stay calm and wait for the storm to pass then you can have a calm discussion about what lead them into the tantrum but be careful with your wording.  I told this to a mom and after her husband flipped out over something so she calmly said to him, “Now can we discuss why you went mental?”  We all had a good chuckle over that one as it’s so passive aggressive and not going to get you anywhere, but it feels good to say of course :).

Myth: A tantrum is frustration due to not being able to communicate.

MythBuster: A tantrum is anger at things not going their way. If it was just about not being able to communicate then children who are 3+ wouldn’t have tantrums, they’d be able to verbally express what’s on their mind.

I explain exactly how to handle tantrums in my Tantrum Busting Manual but the most important thing to remember is to stay calm.  The last thing you need to do is to be dragged into the scene.  If your child goes off the emotional cliff and you go with them, who’s at the top to pull you back up?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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Parents: “No Yelling Challenge”

Hi Parents,

I have a challenge for you if you are prone to yelling at your kids.  I challenge you to not yell or even raise your voice for 3 whole days.  The only exceptions are if your kids are in danger and you have to yell to stop them from walking out onto a busy road, etc.

I can hear you asking, “Yelling is all that works, what am I supposed to do instead?”   Just keep calm and say what you want them to do or not do in a quiet voice, even a whisper.  Say it once, then twice but no more.  If you need to physically stop them from doing something then go ahead but stay calm and no eye contact or conversation.  They already know what you wanted, they’re just ignoring you.

I’ve used this challenge with clients and the results have been fascinating.  Once they learn how to control themselves, they’re on the fast track to controlling their children.

Please contact me and let me know how it went.

Good luck!  You can do it!!!

Warmly, Lisa.


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What Parenting Style will Backfire in the Teen Years?

“New Age Parenting” (a.k.a. “Attachment Parenting”) is where you allow the child to be the boss.  Discipline is a no-no as is considered to be mean.

School principals complain about “New Age Parenting”as being one of the reasons schools are having to do so much of the parenting these days.  Teachers are having to spend more time dealing with bad behaviour and less time focused on academics.

Children not only need leadership, they crave it.  

Every single troubled teen I’ve worked with has said they wish their parents had been tougher on them when they were young.  Many have told me they’d get into trouble to test their parents, see if they loved them enough to discipline them.  They understood that discipline is love.  When they didn’t get leadership from their parents, they looked to their peers.

If you discipline children when they’re young they’re self-disciplined when they’re teenagers.  My son had a rebellious side but said (complained was more like it) that he could never exercise it as I was always sitting on his shoulder.  He was wrong, his conscience was always sitting on his shoulder.  I did all the work when my kids were little so we could sail through the teen years.

Friends who raised their children without discipline really struggled through the teen years.  They were imposing curfews that were constantly broken, taking away video games, threatening, yelling, picking up drunk teens from parties … just a mess.  The ones who struggled the most through the teen years were the ones most critical of discipline in the early years.  I could’ve written their future out for them but they wouldn’t have believed me.

Video on dangers of “New Age Parenting”.

If you want to be respected, you have to earn it.  You have to educate yourself on each child’s needs and wants.  All children need strong leadership.  If you don’t provide it, they’ll turn to their peers.  You want your kids turning to you, not their peers, when they need advice, guidance, etc.

Remember that discipline without fun doesn’t work either.  You have to meet all of your children’s needs and fun is a giant one.  Be the fun parent, be the house their friends come to, play games with them, goof around with them.  The relationship you build through fun mixed with discipline is wonderful.

To feel in control of parenting get started with my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” included in my Newsletter.  Sign up button at the top right of page. 


Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Need help?

Sign up for “4 Week Parenting Program” … or … 

  Sign up for “Private Coaching”