Saturday, March 19, 2016


There is a  lot to discuss when developing self-esteem in a child and the next few posts will be about developing self-esteem. Today I'm going to discuss self-image. There is a difference between self-esteem and self-image. Self-esteem is the awareness that children make about their self-worth and it's based on their growing insights of who they are and the ways they begin to define themselves. For example, I'm tall, good at math, a good helper etc. Self-image is the view every person has about themselves and it is continually developing. Self-image effects the ways people interact with others as well as their social and physical environments. For example, if a person is told they're good at making friends they'll see themselves as a person who's good at making friends and may make friends quickly. A person's self-image is neither positive or negative whereas a person's self-esteem can be.

Francis Wardle who has a Ph.D. in child development and a  professor at The University of Phoenix in Colorado established an interactive conceptual model that self-image is based on. The model consists of the individual, the individual's interaction with the environment and the response of the environment to the individual and their interpretation of the response. For example, some children are better off  with a nanny than in a child care setting because they as a child may have a temperament that works better with a one-on-one situation than in a child care setting. The environment of the child care setting may be too fast and cause a child to feel like they're lost. This will cause the response of the environment to the child to be one where the child doesn't get the one-on-one attention they need and therefore their interpretation of the response is "I won't be taken care of here and don't feel safe here," Therefore, a nanny situation is the better choice for the child.

A parent wants to take a child's self-image seriously. A child may see themselves as someone who isn't good at cleaning and therefore finds tasks such as cleaning their room difficult. A parent needs to take this seriously, find out why the child feels that way and find a solution to help change their self-image in this area. A solution can be working beside them to clean their room a few times and find out what about the task they see as something they can't do. For example, maybe they can't reach their bookshelf and their books are always on the floor. A solution to this is getting them a stool to stand on so that they can reach the bookshelf. This is will change the child's self-image of themselves and build their self-esteem at the same time. Be careful of a child's self-image. It's fragile and in the first eight years of a child's life children mirror their self-image by how their parents, siblings and other adults see them and treat them.

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