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The following suggestions and resources can help you build your child’s self-esteem. If you have other questions or concerns about your child’s behavior, please contact Child and Family Services at 651-229-3855.


Building Self-Esteem

  • Be positive! Everyone functions better in a positive atmosphere.
  • Focus on and help children recognize their strengths.
  • Be honest. Tell children what you like or don’t like. For example, “I like it when you pick up your clothes.”
  • Talk to your child about positive or negative consequences of behavior. “If you do __ , then __ will happen.”
  • Encourage children to take responsibility for their actions. Doing so teaches them that they have some control over what happens to them.
  • Children need to understand what’s happening to their bodies. Discuss their condition with them and other family members.
  • Encourage children to try new things and develop new interests.
  • When children do something wrong, reassure them that you like them but that you dislike the behavior.
  • Say “I love you” — a lot!

Behavior Management

  • Focus on changing one behavior at a time. Reward the behaviors you want your child to continue with verbal praise, charting, stickers or small rewards.
  • Reward or punish soon after the behavior has occurred.
  • Be consistent and follow through with rewards and punishment.
  • Limit the number of rules and be sure children understand what’s expected of them.
  • To change negative behavior, try ignoring it. When you ignore behavior, you remove the child’s audience so that the behavior loses its effectiveness.
  • That said, never ignore destructive or aggressive behavior that could be harmful or may indicate a serious problem.
  • Select punishment carefully. Physical punishment or yelling provides negative reinforcement and may encourage children to continue the behavior.
  • When enforcing time outs, age is a good guide. Three minutes is enough time for a three-year-old. Eight minutes for an eight-year-old.
  • Be realistic and remember that behavior changes slowly. If you don’t see a change in about two weeks, try a new approach.
  • If behaviors severely disrupt the family, seek professional help. A social worker or psychologist from Gillette can help you find helpful resources in your community.



Baadsgaard, Janene Walsey. A Sense of Wonder: Helping Children Discover Their Own Self Worth, Desert Book, 1984.

Briggs, Dorothy Corkille. Your Child’s Self-Esteem,
Dolphin Books, 1975. 

Clarke, Jean Illsley. Self-Esteem: A Family Affair,
Winston Press, 1978.

Dobson, James. Hide or Seek: How to Build Self-Esteem
in Your Child, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979.

Dyer, Wayne W. What Do Your Really Want For Your
Children? W. Morrow, 1985.

Ginott, Haim G. Dr. Between Parent and Child,
Avon Printing, 1969.

Green, Lawrence J. Learning Disabilities and Your Child, Fawcett Columbine, 1987.

MACLD, Building a Child’s Self Image. For more information write 1821 University Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104 or call (612) 646-6136.

Price, Alvin H. How to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem, Golden Press, 1984.

Seidman, Martin L. Performance Without Pressure:
A Guide for Parents, Walker, 1988.

Behavior Management

Ilg, Frances L. Child Behavior, Harper and Row Publishers, 1981.

Kelly, Jefferey A. Solving Your Child’s Behavior Problems, Little, Brown, 1983.

Nelson, Ed.D., Jane. Positive Discipline, Ballantine Books, 1987.

Children’s Books

Carlson, Nancy. I Like Me, Viking Penguin, 1988.

Cragg, Shirla. Run Patty Run, Harper and Row Publishers. 1980.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.