Discussion: What Builds Healthy Self-Esteem?
Positive self-esteem helps children succeed in school and in life. Your course text discusses the ways that family, school, peers, mass media, and community act as socializing agents that can influence the development of self-esteem. To explore the topic of self-esteem further, review the "Influences on the Development of Self-Esteem" section of your text (pages 442-446). Also review the article by early childhood authority Lilian Katz, "How Can We Strengthen Children's Self-Esteem?"
As you review these readings, consider the following:
- How socializing agents can influence the development of children's self-esteem both positively and negatively
- The relationship between praise and self-esteem
- Strategies that resonate with you for supporting children's developing self-esteem
Next, read the following scenario and reflect on the influence of self-esteem on a young child's social, emotional, and cognitive development:
Four-year-old Simone always seems willing to go along with what other children want to do but is usually timid about suggesting ideas or helping to solve problems in play scenarios. Her teacher notices that the other children let her join in, but give her the least interesting roles in dramatic play or "jobs" to do in projects that call for group effort. In turn, Simone often tires of the play quickly and wanders off by herself. During the day, Simone looks for frequent reassurance from adults in the room. Whether she's painting a picture or working on a block building, she wants to know if she is "doing it right" and gets anxious when her efforts aren't praised. In the mornings when Simone's mother brings her to school, she is busy with Simone's infant sister and so doesn't have time to stay. A neighbor who picks up her own child in the afternoon, picks up Simone as well. Simone's father, who works at a local "big-box" store has yet to bring Simone to school or visit. Developmentally, Simone seems in the normal range, but her teacher is concerned about how she will do next year in kindergarten, when she will be in a much larger class than her preschool group and there will be added demands on Simone.
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