The following points are helpful in strengthening and supporting a healthy sense of self-esteem:

1. Help your child learn how to make and keep friends. Healthy friendships are important, because children in this age group are increasingly sensitive about how their friends feel about them.

Children at Denny Strecker's Karate are taught the social skills needed to meet friends, such as how to introduce themselves, start conversations, and politely join in play as part of their belt requirements. In order to advance in rank, all students must be able to do a Polite Introduction and a Polite Greeting.

Model healthy relationships with your spouse, relatives, and friends – children as exposed to healthy relationships based on mutual respect and courtesy. Instructors are addressed as Sir or Ma’am and parents are addressed as Mr., Mrs. or Ms.

Encourage your children to talk about their concerns and problems making friends.

Talk to your children about behaviors you observe when they are with their friends. Do this later so as not to embarrass your child. Note specific behavior, and offer suggestions for improvement. For example, "I noticed at the pool that you told Sarah you wouldn't go to the wading pool with her. Do you think that may have hurt her feelings? How do you think you could have handled it better?"

2. Reassure your child that you accept him or her even when others do not. A child's self-esteem wavers from situation to situation and sometimes moment to moment, depending upon the interaction. One of the strongest points to our martial arts program is how the children are always in a positive environment. Even if they don’t reach their main goal, our expert staff is there to help point out the positives in their attempt.

3. Respond positively to your child's efforts and interests. Children are often able to see through flattery or excessive praise. They usually appreciate an adult's genuine concern and interest though. Our staff greets each student at the front door and asks them “How are you today?” Any time a child answers negatively, they are immediately flagged for follow up to see what is wrong and if there is anything the staff can do to make them happier.

4. Involve your child in chores around the house that stretch his or her abilities. Children gain a sense of accomplishment when they are offered real challenges rather than those that are merely frivolous or fun. All too often, parents set the bar too low for their child for fear that they may fail and feel bad. It is not the failing or the feeling bad that matters. It is how the child – and more importantly – how the parent responds. “Shoot for the moon, but even if you miss, you will still land among the stars.” ---Les Brown.

5. Treat your child with respect. Ask his or her views and opinions, consider them seriously, and give meaningful and realistic feedback. A child's self-esteem grows when he or she is respected by adults who are important to them. At Denny Strecker's Karate, we teach the parents that children should have a vote in matters that concern the entire family. The goal is to teach children that they do have input, and an opportunity to voice their opinion. This opens so many doors for them in the future as teens and adults.

6. Support your child during his or her failures. Help your child reflect on what went wrong, and help him or her apply those lessons in the future. A child's sense of self-worth deepens when adults help him or her understand that life has its ups and downs. Parents are too concerned with sheltering their children from anything negative. One of the great anecdotes used in our classes involves Thomas Edison. After inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison was asked how long it took him to invent this item. He said that this was his 100th attempt. When a reporter asked him how he felt about failing 99 times Thomas replied, “I didn’t fail. I learned 99 different ways of how NOT to create a light bulb.

If you would like to learn more about how my martial arts program can improve your child’s self-esteem, self-confidence and self-discipline, please call me at (586) 573-3881 and I will be happy to schedule a FREE consultation with you to discuss your specific needs and how our expert staff can help you, and your child gain more self-esteem.

Author's Bio: 

Denny Strecker has been teaching "Life Skills" to children and their parents for 15 years. He has worked with hundreds of families and taught them skills to improve their parenting and increase their child's happiness. He has several DVD's available and has seminars on a regular basis. Get more information at