Parents, learn to be good listeners

Some of the things to consider doing and saying - or avoiding - to boost your child's self-esteem:

Some of the things to consider doing and saying - or avoiding - to boost your child's self-esteem:

lTouch your child lovingly. This can be a hug, a kiss or a pat on the head or shoulder, even if only in passing or during a conversation.

l Have a set time every week when you do something special as a family, allowing your child or children to decide what it is you're going to do together.

lListen to your child. It sometimes takes children a long time to tell you a story or to make a particular point, so just bear with them until they've done. Let them know how important what they have to say is to you.

l Encourage your child to try things for himself so that he can develop a sense of achievement.

Respect and reward every effort he makes so that he wants to persevere and try again. Don't be so quick to jump in and try to do it for him.

lDon't attack the child for bad behaviour. You need to understand that the child is not the behaviour, so you have to explain why the behaviour was wrong and give an example of what could have been done differently or how to rectify what has gone wrong.

l Sometimes your child might ask you for your help but please don't take this as an opportunity to take over.

Rather simply assist with one part of it until he can take over again for himself or help him to solve the problem for himself.

lBe aware of the difference between verbal and nonverbal communication. We might be verbally saying one thing to children because it's the right way to respond.

But at the same time our body language shows a completely different emotion or even boredom, which can be detrimental to your child self-esteem if they believe they're not important to you.

lAccept your children for who they are. Encourage them as they develop their own areas of strength even if it's not an area you are interested in.

Give them the opportunity to be themselves and develop independence and an understanding of responsibility.

lBe a positive role model and help your child get involved in activities that foster cooperation rather than competition.

l Watch what you say since children are very sensitive to their parent's words.

l Articles based on key letters to parents published on For more advice e-mail Melanie Hartgill at, or phone her at 082-678-4300.