We all have an inner sense of who we are, what our appearance is, what we are good at and what our weaknesses are. We develop the picture of ourselves through the time that begins in the first years of childhood and continues into adulthood. The image is influenced by interpersonal relationships with important people and our life experiences. Self-esteem takes on the feelings of love, respect and acceptance that we get from the social environment and on the other side of our own acceptance of ourselves. Two poles that build the whole picture of our self-esteem.

Parents play a key role in shaping a child’s (positive and stable) self-esteem. The family is the most important cell, it’s the place of the child’s primary environment, where he receives the first information on subjects, social relations and evaluation criteria. On the basis of received feedback, the child gradually forms an image of himself.


Positive and stable self-esteem acts as an armor that protects a child against life’s challenges. Children with a more stable self-esteem know their strengths and weaknesses well and cultivate positive feelings for themselves. We can notice they solve problems easier and resist negative pressure. These children are personally more realistic and at the same time optimistic. By nature, they are also more pleased, enjoying social activities, as well as in independent engagements. When faced with a new challenge, they are focused on finding solutions without expressing dissatisfaction or underestimating oneself and others. Children accept themselves and live a fuller life.


The family is the first place where the child encounters certain patterns of action, which he starts to imitate. On the basis of these influence, his self-esteem develops. Parental role is thus both important and demanding in the development of a child’s positive and stable self-esteem.

When it comes to our children role modeling is everything. Let’s nurture our self-esteem and not be too strict on ourselves, pessimistic, or unrealistic to our abilities and limitations, hence we are like mirrors to our children. The child’s family environment should experience a sense of physical security, affection and emotional stability. The child will confide their problems (school and emotional issues, etc.), which we’ll try to solve together. By doing this, we’ll gain our child’s trust and learn how to communicate and express emotions, which are important components for the development of a positive and stable self-esteem. In our emotions, we are primarily spontaneous and loving. The open display of love will help shape the child’s more stable self-esteem. Embrace your child and tell them you are proud of them when you see his efforts and dedication, regardless of the success or defeat they experienced (different competitions, grades in test tasks, etc.). Children are also very sensitive to our words, so special care is needed in choosing them. The praise should be sincere, frequent, but not overly exaggerated since the child can lead this in an exaggerated egoism and a sense of superiority, which can end with unpopularity and even exclusion from the circle of friends.

As parents, we also need to pay attention to the child’s false beliefs about himself (eg, his physical appearance, his abilities, etc.). It is important that parents recognize the child’s irrational attitude towards himself and help him to be able to evaluate himself more realistically because the wrong perception can become a child’s reality. In order to help create a more stable self-esteem, we can also enroll a child in activities that promote co-operation rather than competitiveness. For example, training workshops where older children help younger ones with learning and volunteer work, which has a special impact not only on our child but on everyone involved in the process of events.

In the process of building a positive and stable self-esteem, it is important that parents find the right measure — ”just enough” and help children to believe in themselves and discover and recognize their own potentials. On the other hand, children need to learn what it means to fail, feel disappointed, and worried so they can learn to deal with life experience while they are young and feel safe and nurtured with the help of a loving family. Only this way we’ll bring the child into an autonomous individual, with positive self-esteem and respect for himself and others. A child will always be grateful for the acceptance he receives, as for us —  it will be easier to let our children be their own person having the opportunity to live their own life purpose.


  • dr. Karmen Pevc

    Ph.D. in Marital and Family Therapy

    Karmen Pevc finished her studies and obtained a professional title B. A. (Pedagogy and Sociology of Culture). She successfully finished her Phd in Marital and Family Therapy at the Faculty of Theology in Ljubljana where she's researching on a topic of Relationship between unemployed young adults, self-esteem, and family of Origin. Within her studies, she wrote a scientific article titled »Unemployment and psychological well-being of unemployed individuals.« She's also the author of two topic-related articles for the magazine Vzajemnost and Didakta. For three years she was a regular contributor for the monthly magazine Zdravje. She has more than a decade of experience working in the field of education. Now she works in her private practice, where through education, counseling and personal growth, effectively helps individuals, families, and couples solve distress and problems, personal transformation, life mission, creativity, self-image and better communication with each other.