Building self esteem in children

As summer approaches and the school year comes to a close, many teenagers will be searching for good summer jobs to make some money and keep themselves busy. There are many jobs for teenagers and

summer-jobs-for-teens-3As summer approaches and the school year comes to a close, many teenagers will be searching for good summer jobs to make some money and keep themselves busy. There are many jobs for teenagers and numerous benefits for teens having a temporary summer job besides earning money, as it’s an excellent opportunity to build self-esteem, develop people skills, money smarts, become more independent, as well as increased respect and compassion for other people.

Even though 6 million American teenagers who hold jobs reap many benefits, there are risks to be considered as well. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, about 230,000 teen workers are injured annually, ranging from burns and cuts in restaurant kitchens to power tool accidents, and falls from roofs in construction and landscaping jobs. While deaths are rare, between 60 and 70 job-related deaths involving teens occur every year, with close to half of those being in agricultural jobs.

There are other hazards that are not life-threatening, including sexual harassment, hostile co-workers, managers or customers that can create numerous child safety problems for teens. The University of North Carolina published the results of a study in the American Academy of Pediatrics journal named Pediatrics, finding that teens aged 14 to 18 who work at retail and service jobs during the school year put in an average of 16 hours a week, often at jobs that are dangerous and unsupervised.

The study of 928 teen workers found that U.S. youth who work at retail and service jobs “are exposed to multiple hazards, use dangerous equipment despite federal prohibitions and work long hours during the school week.” 80% of them work after 7 p.m. on school nights and over half of them are still working past 9 p.m. The report also says that these teen workers “lack consistent training and adult supervision on the job.”

teen-summer-jobs-3For most teens and their parents, the payoffs of summer employment far out-weigh the risks. Most teens don’t know how to write a resume, so help your teen create a winning teen resume with the free online service at MyFirstPaycheck, that offers tips and a step-by-guide for kids as young as middle school age to create their own resume. Before your teen accepts a job, consider these child safety tips to help ensure your teen understands child labor laws and their legal rights to work in a safe environment:

Child Labor Laws
Educate yourself and your teen regarding child labor regulations so that he or she will know how to respond if asked to do anything inappropriate, such as serving alcohol in a restaurant or working beyond allowable hours. Go to YouthRules! for specific child labor laws in your particular state, as there is an abundance of information and resources to be found there for teens, parents, educators and employers.

While it may be legal for your teen to work until 7 p.m. on school nights, you might want him or her home by that time so as not to be driving after dark, even over the summer. Establish your own ground rules as a responsible parent, requiring your teen to follow the guidelines and rules you’ve set, which may mean you’ll have to be stricter.

Questions to Ask
Rather than simply asking your teen, “How was work today honey?”, ask leading questions that require more than a simple, “Fine” response. Ask questions like, “Does the manager or supervisor ever ask you to work after you clock out?” Or, “Have your job responsibilities changed since you started the job?”

You need to know if your teen who was hired to do something innocuous may have been given additional duties that may be riskier. You don’t want your teen to be a statistic of job-related injuries when he or she was originally hired to bus tables, but discover too late that they’d been put in the back using a slicing machine.

Signs of Sexual Harassment
sexual-harassment-3 The University of Southern Maine in Portland’s sexual harassment study involving 393 teen boys and girls, published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, found that 35% said they had been sexually harassed on the job (two-thirds of whom were female).

Talk to your teens about the study and ask, “Has anyone at work asked you out repeatedly after you’ve already said no?” And, “Has anyone ever made crude comments about your appearance or touched you in an inappropriate way that made you feel uncomfortable?”

Empower your teen to speak up for themselves assertively, so they know how to respond accordingly. Parents can help their teen by role-playing and practicing possible harassment scenarios, teaching your teen to say things like, “That’s gross. Don’t ever say things like that to me again.” If appropriate changes are not made and the harasser continues the behavior, help your teen write a complaint to the manager, or to the next person up the ladder if the manager is sexually harassing your teen.

In cases where the manager is breaking the law, the best course of action for your teen may be to quit and find another job, then report the manager or organization to your state’s Department of Labor. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Further Reading:

Understanding Assertiveness: Getting the Respect You Deserve

Building Self-Confidence in Children with Self-Esteem Activities

Categories: Abuse, Children, Education, Family, Parenting, Relationships, Teenagers – Tags: Building self esteem in children, child labor laws, child safety and prevention, create a teen resume, good summer jobs, sexual harassment, summer employment, summer jobs for teens, temporary summer job

healthy-self-esteem-thumbnail When was the last time you yelled, screamed, criticized or punished your child? When did you last hug, encourage, praise or say “thank you” to your child? If these parenting behaviors were placed on a weight scale side-by-side, what would the results be in determining how you fare in building healthy self-esteem vs. low self-esteem in your children? What would your self-esteem look like if roles were reversed and you were the child being parented by someone just like you?

Parents may not think about or realize how their words and actions impact their children’s self-worth, their ability to feel good about themselves, and how it follows children well into adulthood. The overall independence, happiness and success of children depends largely on parents building healthy self-esteem in their children and teens.

Family communication research confirms that parents spend very little time actually communicating with their children, and when parents do speak to their child it is most often to complain, criticize or reprimand them for something they’ve done wrong. Studies show that younger children are often criticized and yelled at throughout the day, whereas older children and teens report receiving more encouragement and praise as they got older. Something is terribly wrong with that.

In a previous article, I talked about the importance of building self-esteem in children by considering how they view the world through their young eyes and ears, keeping in mind the importance of giving loving encouragement and genuine praise to children. Promoting self-confidence in children means that parents must evaluate and re-evaluate their parenting style, making needed changes and improvements in order for their children to grow up feeling loved, appreciated and wanted.

Young children tend to hear things like:

  • Stop hitting your sister!
  • Don’t throw the ball in the house!
  • If you do that one more time I’m going to…!

Parents need to look for opportunities and situations to encourage and genuinely praise children when they are cooperating, being nice to their brother or sister, helping with household chores, following the rules or just being good, remembering not to expect perfection with each task.

  • I like the way you helped set the table for dinner.
  • Thank you for playing nicely with your sister/brother.
  • I appreciate how you picked up your toys and put them away.
  • I like the way you made your bed all by yourself.
  • Thank you for helping me fold the laundry.
  • I appreciate how well you behaved at the store today.

Promote self-confidence in children by teaching them positive Self-Talk. Psychologists have found that negative self-talk causes depression and anxiety in children, so it’s important to teach children to have pride in their abilities and accomplishments.

i-can-do-it-myself-thumbnail I can still remember when my children were about 3 years-old and trying to get them dressed for the day. My son didn’t want me to help him put his shirt on and said, “I can do it myself!” I allowed him to get dressed by himself, and even though he put the shirt on backwards, the smile on his face told me he felt good about his ability to do things without help.

Children need to be allowed to make age-appropriate choices and decisions, such as deciding what outfit they’ll wear or what they want to eat for breakfast or lunch, as well as helping with chores and responsibilities in the home, in order to learn how to deal with the consequences of their decisions.

  • Would you like to wear the blue outfit or the red one today?
  • Would you like peanut butter and jelly or a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch?
  • Would you like to clean the kitchen or clean the bathroom?
  • Would you like to mow the yard or sweep the sidewalk?
  • Would you like vegetable soup or chili for dinner tonight?

Children need to be given self-esteem activities in order to feel good about themselves. John is the father of two children, a 9 year-old daughter and an 11 year-old son. From the time his children were five years old, John and his wife began taking the children to homeless shelter’s over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to help feed and serve the homeless.

John’s kids are some of the most compassionate and empathetic children I’ve ever known, so much so that when a family vacation was being considered one year over the holidays, both children said they “need to help the people at the shelter’s” rather than go on vacation. The vacation trip was postponed and the children were thrilled in being allowed to contribute to the final decision.

Children also need to be shown proper discipline from their parents, along with parents setting limits regarding how they talk and behave. Undisciplined children cannot grow up with healthy self-esteem and tend to be more dependent upon others, feeling they have no control over their own lives. Children need emotional and physical protection provided through rules and limits in order to have high self-esteem. I’ll be dealing with the issue of giving proper discipline to children in an upcoming article.

When was the last time you had a real conversation with your child or teen where you truly felt connected? What are some things you recommend parents do to help build high self-esteem in children and teenagers? Do you have a question or personal story you would like to share about building self-confidence in children? If so, please leave a comment below.

Further Reading:

Books on Building Self-Confidence in Children and Teens
How to Build Self-Confidence in Children and Teens
A Child’s Ten Commandments For Parents

Categories: Children, Education, Family, Holidays, Parenting, Relationships, Teenagers – Tags: Building self esteem in children, healthy self esteem, high self esteem, low self esteem, promote high self esteem in children, self esteem activities