Filling your Child’s Self-Esteem Cup

“My dear Watson,” said Sherlock Holmes, “I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.”
Arthur Conan Doyle

Exaggerated over-confidence is not healthy self-esteem. Sometimes in an effort to build confidence, parents reward or praise their children for little or no accomplishment, thereby creating self-centered, entitled, children who do not learn to be responsible for themselves or to be persistent in the face of frustration. In reality, building true self-esteem means giving children the skills to nurture a deep sense of self-worth and capability which is the cornerstone of success. So how do we give our kids self-esteem without giving them a sense of entitlement and over-confidence?

One model that can be used to develop self-esteem in children is called CUPS, developed by Harris Clemes and Reynold Bean in their book, How to Raise Children’s Self-Esteem.

  • Connectedness: the child feels connected to and a part of something that he values
  • Uniqueness: the child feels valued just for who he is and for all the things about him      that make him different from other children
  • Power:  within healthy limits, the child has the opportunity to make her own choices and believes she usually can do what she sets out to do
  • Sense of models: knows worthy, honest, reliable people who model the traits the      child aspires to obtain
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