27 Help develop your child’s self-esteem As a parent, you play a vital role in promoting your child’s self-esteem. The first step in doing this is to realize that your words and actions make a difference to your child. Parents are often quick to express disapproval, but they don’t always get around to complimenting their child’s behavior. Be on the lookout for situations in which your child is doing a good job or displaying a positive character trait. For example, if you like the way your child completes a chore, then say something like,“I really appreciate your help in the kitchen. You always remember to clean up any mess you make.” Give specifics to reinforce the behavior. Children remember positive statements, so give your child some words of praise or encouragement every day. Focus on your child’s strengths and point out all the things he/she can do. There will be times when you need to correct your child’s behavior. Be constructive, and avoid criticism that is harsh or unnecessary, especially in front of others. Laugh with your child and encourage him/her to laugh. A good sense of humor and the ability to make light of life are important ingredients for developing self-esteem.