Authentic Self-Esteem

Authentic Self-Esteem

Authentic self-esteem – positive, healthy, confident, and balanced- provides a secure foundation for [a young child’s] further growth and development.

—Marian C. Marion, Guidance of Young Children (Marion, 2015, p.185)

As you have been learning, important adults in a young child’s life have a powerful influence on shaping the child’s self-esteem. Negative messages from adults can have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. However, helping a child develop authentic self-esteem requires more than an overload of positive feedback and interactions. Early childhood professionals working with preschool-age children and their families have a key role in helping parents and other significant adults understand how best to help a child develop authentic self-esteem.

By Day 3:

Review “Practices That Help Children Develop Authentic Self-Esteem,” pages 197-202 in the course text. Then think about how you would apply the information and practices in each of the following scenarios:

  •  You are talking to a parent who thinks that, in order to have positive self-esteem, his child has to be good at everything. He never pushes his child to do anything that might be a challenge.
  •  You notice that a preschooler’s grandmother who volunteers in your program responds to her own grandchild and other children with “That’s great!” no matter what a child does. When you mention that she uses the phrase a lot, she responds enthusiastically that she knows praise is essential to give children positive self-esteem.
  •  You are speaking to the parents of a preschooler who seems to be a natural athlete but who makes fun of other children who can’t run as fast as she can. The parents explain that they want their child to know she is the best and better than other children in sports “so she’ll grow up with a healthy self-esteem.”


Then, post a response based on the following:

  •  Choose one scenario and explain how you would respond to the adult(s).
  • Describe two ideas or strategies that you would suggest for helping the child develop authentic self-esteem.
  • Explain insights you have gained about authentic self-esteem and assumptions or misconceptions that were corrected.


Answer preview
Children have to be taught the importance of understanding that they will sometimes fail or be disappointed with themselves, as well as with others in their environment. By teaching them to be good at everything, the children might be afraid of trying certain things, especially those that they feel will not favor their ambitions. It is therefore important that parents help their kids to acknowledge and accommodate both unpleasant and pleasant feelings….words 305