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Short Stature Child | Here's How to Boost A Child’s Self-esteem

For height-challenged children, maintaining a high level of self-esteem can be tough. Children grow at different rates resulting in big discrepancies in height despite a small difference in age. Many children can see this as a sign that they are growing too slowly, and will never be as tall as their peers. 

For parents, boosting the self-esteem of your children can be a particularly difficult struggle, as efforts to boost self-esteem can quickly be interpreted by an intuitive child as disingenuous and condescending. In this article, we’ll outline some of the most effective ways to boost your child’s self-esteem, allowing them to lead productive lives free from worry over their height, while also encouraging them to be proud of their body and to recognize their uniqueness. 

How To Boost Your Child’s Self Esteem

1. Discuss how growth affects everyone differently and at a different pace.

One of the most useful avenues for boosting self-esteem in your child will be to sit them down and have a real discussion about how humans grow and develop during childhood. For children, it can be extremely difficult to conceptualize the fact that they are in fact very young, and have a great deal of growth ahead of them. Discussing the realities of human growth and development with your child can provide the foundation for a continuing conversation that is based on facts and reason.  

This has a number of benefits. First, it will encourage your child to view their height with a balanced perspective, recognizing that not all people are tall or short, but rather that there is a wide range of heights that are considered “normal.” Second, framing the discussion as one based on facts can encourage your child to view their slower growth not as a personal issue but rather as a simple fact of development that occurs in many people across the world. Having a fact-based discussion about development can also encourage them to recognize the fact that their lack of height at their age doesn’t mean that they won’t grow at a later time.

 2. Encourage them to see that they’re unique and beautiful.

Many times, children have a hard time recognizing their own personality and unique strengths.  Be mindful of opportunities to praise your child for their cognitive or physical capabilities that they may not recognize in themselves. Encouraging your child to recognize that everyone is unique and have unique talents, bodies, strengths, and weaknesses, can allow them to view themselves in a new light that recognizes the characteristics that make them unique. 

Through this, they can begin to see that their unique talents are what differentiate them from others and makes them special, which can be a significant self-esteem booster. This can also encourage your child to recognize the defining characteristics in others, which is a powerful tool that will allow them to treat others that may have a disability or health issue with greater compassion. 

By encouraging your child to think about and realize what makes them unique, you are also encouraging them to see and develop their strengths and assets, while also pushing them to focus on the positive over the negative, which can be beneficial as they continue to develop and grow.

3. Don’t offer praise that is not heartfelt.

One of the most common mistakes that parents make when attempting to boost the self-esteem of their height-challenged child is to offer an overabundance of praise. This tip can seem counterintuitive, but constantly praising your child for everything they do begins to undermine praising them at all. Children are incredibly adept at recognizing when parents or other adults are offering insincere praise. Avoid this common pitfall that many parents make by not overcompensating for your child’s height through excessive praise in an attempt to boost their self-esteem. 

In reality, insincere praise will often result in a child that has lower self-esteem because they are not getting the recognition they value. This does not mean that you shouldn’t praise your child often. Rather, be mindful of how you praise your child. Focus on the specific acts or accomplishments of your child that you find to be worthy of praise and encouragement. By adopting this tip, you will help boost your child’s self-esteem by offering them genuine praise when they have done something good or worthwhile, which they will internalize and respond to positively.