It's not just intelligence-it's self-esteem.

Studies show that bright children who think poorly of themselves may do poorly in school. But average children who believe in themselves can excel.

As a parent, you play a key role in helping your child develop a sense of self-esteem. Here are some practical tips.

Children with high self-esteem have parents who:

  • Love and accept them. Children with high self-esteem know their parents love them whatever they do. All children misbehave. But parents who build self-esteem criticize the behavior, not the child. They might say, ÎI love you, but I do not approve of your behavior right now.
  • See something special in them. These parents look for something special in each of their children. They do not compare one child unfavorably with another. A child who believes he is a good athlete, or a good musician, is less afraid to learn new skills. A child who believes she is talented in math or science will be ready to learn.
  • Set limits. It's confusing for a child to have too much freedom. When children know their parents care enough to set some rules, they actually feel more freedom to try their wings.
  • Allow for plenty of individual flexibility within the limits they set. Perhaps a family has a rule that homework must be done before dinner. One child prefers to do homework right after school. The other spends a hour outside before studying. A parent can build self-esteem by saying, ÎYou've each chosen the way that works best for you. I'm proud of how you have solved the problem for yourselves.

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