What are the consequences of lack of self-respect in children? And how to prevent them! - Social Seeds

What are the consequences of lack of self-respect in children? And how to prevent them!

Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect are interchangeable phrases we use to identify our kids’ confidence in their ability to handle life’s problems. It's no secret that self-respect is a vital ingredient for a happy, successful life. It enables people to feel good about themselves, feel like they are in control of their lives, and be resilient in the face of difficult situations. However, many parents don't realise the consequences of failing to instil this important value in their children. Children who lack self-respect may struggle with these things throughout their lives. Let’s take a look at some of the consequences of lack of self-respect in children and offer some tips on how you can help your child develop healthy self-respect.

  self respect, self confidence, self esteem, kids, teens, parenting 
Avoidance Behaviours

With this type of behaviour, a child may miss valuable social opportunities and situations where they could learn and grow from a new experience. They may feel awkward, shy and tend to avoid anything that is unfamiliar. Often, being hesitant to take safe risks or move out of their comfort zone. They may begin to avoid people/socialising, visiting unfamiliar locations, or even unfamiliar foods/drinks.

Low Confidence Level

A lack of confidence often goes hand in hand with low self-esteem. You may notice your child talking negatively about themself and their abilities. They may be overly critical of the skills they possess or how they look.

Lack of Effort

A child with low self-esteem may see themselves as being poorly skilled or incapable of completing tasks. Sometimes even just attempting a new activity becomes overwhelming, and they may just give up and walk away. A child with a higher level of self-esteem is more likely to be confident enough to try again even if the first attempt didn’t work.


Most parents probably think perfectionism is a sign of a highly confident child, however, there is a difference between a high achiever and a child seeking perfection. The perfectionist child is unable to gain satisfaction from their efforts due to their rigid thinking and unrealistic goals. Since mistakes are unacceptable to them, perfectionism provides these students with little pleasure, instead, they become highly critical of themselves and their achievements.

Unsafe Risk Taking

When our kids are lacking self-respect and self-confidence they are more likely to make poor decisions regarding personal care and safety. They may view themselves as unworthy and/or are desperately searching for validation from others. This can lead to an increased likelihood of unsafe behaviour such as: not following rules, bullying, sexting, smoking or vaping, drug and/or alcohol consumption and earlier sexual activity.

Each time a child faces a new problem, their self-esteem is put to the test. For children, their lack of experience means they are often confronted with new problems and opportunities. As a result, their self-esteem is continually being put to the test. If your child can deal with these problems, their sense of self-esteem grows. If they can’t, their self-esteem diminishes and doesn’t develop the way it should.
Simply, self-esteem comes from being able to operate out of your comfort zone. Therefore, the more a child learns how to be independent and do things independently, the higher their self-esteem will be, and the better they’re going to feel about themselves too. So now let’s look at how we can foster the growth of self-respect in our kids!

self respect, self confidence, self esteem, kids, teens, parenting, communication 
Encourage Learning New Things

At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. Even during babyhood, learning to hold a cup or take first steps sparks a sense of mastery and delight. As your child grows, things like reading, cooking or learning to ride a bike are chances for self-esteem to grow. Be sure your child gets a chance to learn, try, and feel proud. Don't make new challenges too easy, or too hard.

Encourage Safe Risk-Taking

Again, this will be very dependant on your child’s age and abilities. It could be trying a new food, using a sharp knife during meal prep, climbing a tree, or going on a roller coaster!
The main point is that there is an element of risk, it’s slightly outside of their comfort zone and it’s in a controlled, safe space.

Praise Your Child, Mindfully.

Praise and positive reinforcement is a powerful tool, but you need to be mindful to ensure that it is genuine, has been earned and it’s only results based. You want your child to be making a genuine effort and it is the effort that deserves the most praise! You also don’t want to go over board or become patronising.

Ditch Harsh Criticism!

Yes, it’s important to be honest with our kids. However, harsh words ("You're so lazy!") are harmful, and not motivating. When kids hear negative messages about themselves, it harms their self-esteem and fosters negative thought patterns. Instead, correct your kids with patience. Focus on conveying what you want them to do next time.

Focus on Their Strengths

It’s much easier to keep a child engaged and motivated if they are involved in something they love or already do well at! Work out what they enjoy doing, and then foster that passion to get them to extend on their skills. Learn a new song on their favourite instrument, take an art class, or cook a new meal and serve to family or friends!

Let Kids Help and Give.

Self-esteem grows when kids get to see that what they do matters to others. Kids can help out at home, do a service project at school, or do a favor for a sibling. Helping and kind acts build self-esteem and other good feelings.

Be a Good Role Model

Little (and not so little) eyes and ears are always watching you, so the best way to build your child’s self-respect and confidence is to model this. When you put effort into everyday tasks (like making a meal, cleaning up the dishes, or washing the car), you're setting a good example. Your child learns to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up toys, or making the bed. Modelling the right attitude and behaviour counts too. When you do tasks cheerfully (or at least without grumbling or complaining), practise self-care and speak kindly to yourself you teach your child to do the same too.

 self respect, self confidence, self esteem, kids, teens, parenting, communication
Lack of self-respect can have some pretty serious consequences for children, both in their personal lives and in their future relationships. It’s important to start instilling a sense of self-respect in your child from an early age, and to continue reinforcing it as they grow older. With a little hard work and patience, you can help your child develop into a confident, happy adult who feels good about themselves and is able to form healthy relationships with others.

Have you ever struggled with lack of self-respect? What tips do you have for other parents trying to raise children who respect themselves? Leave a comment below!

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