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Development of Self Esteem in Early Childhood

The importance of the formation and development of self esteem in early childhood is because early childhood is the golden age. This means that if children get the right education at that age, then they will have good learning readiness as one of the main keys to successful learning at the next level.

The development of children is not only from the cognitive and psychomotor side, but also from the psychological side. What should be taught to children? Namely self-control, need for achievement, mastery or self-confidence, and self-esteem. To build self-confidence in children, you can check the article here.


What Is Self Esteem?

Taking an explanation from the Vil Elementary School Education Journal. 2 No. August 2, 2016 from PG PAUD FKIP UAD Yogyakarta written by Dwi Hastuti mentions the definition of self-esteem according to Stuart and Sundeen (1991) saying that self-esteem is an individual's assessment of the results achieved by analyzing how far the behavior meets his ideal.

From the opinion of several experts, it is concluded that self-esteem is an individual's assessment of self-respect, through an attitude towards himself that is implicit and not verbalized and describes the extent to which the individual views himself as a person who has ability, meaning, value, and competence.

How can you judge a child as having high or low self-esteem? You can see it from how the personality of a child with high self-esteem will behave more independently, be active, dare to express opinions, and be confident. Conversely, a child with low self-esteem will look less confident, anxious, afraid, passive, and withdrawn from the environment.


The Scope of Development of Self Esteem in Early Childhood

According to Felker (1974), the scope of self esteem are :

1.       Feeling of belonging

Is an individual's feeling that he is part of a group and the individual is accepted by other group members. The assessment of group members becomes important with regard to acceptance or rejection. A person will feel himself more valuable if received positively.

2.       Feeling of competence

It is an individual's feeling that he or she is capable of doing something to achieve the expected result. This feeling is also related to how a person feels confident about his thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

3.       Feeling of worth

It is the feeling of an individual who feels himself worthy. This feeling of worth triggers a positive assessment of himself, feels confident, and has self-esteem or self-respect.


The Role of Parents in Development of Self Esteem in Early Childhood

The importance of the role of parents because the first relationship owned by children with their environment starts from their parents. In general, this relationship is what children get as their first experience.

What parents do will reflect back on their children in the form of self-image, and parenting patterns will affect children's self-esteem. In short, parents who have high self-esteem tend to have children who also have high self-esteem, and vice versa.

How parenting received by parents in the past also affects how they pass down their behavior and character when forming their children. If it feels negative is there still a chance to improve it in the future? At least the children do not feel the effects of poor parenting. The answer is yes, by breaking the chain of parenting that is already running. Parents should have made peace with the things that affect their current personality and try to fix them so that they can be a good example for their children and make it better.

Self-esteem that is too high is also not good, both for the child and the relationship between the child and the environment. Because children will always feel right, too confident so they can't analyze what strengths and weaknesses they have. Self-esteem is based on reality not gimmicks.

A study revealed that children base their self-esteem on two things, namely acceptance (the degree to which the environment, especially parents accept them as they are) and self-competence such as "I'm smart" or "I can run fast" (Hildebrand, 1985).

Some parental behaviors that can form a child's positive self-esteem are :

1. Quality behavior and high performance from parents

2. Implement clear boundaries which behaviors are allowed and which are not allowed

3. Behavioral guidance and feedback from parents

4. Treat children with respect and confidence

5. Pay attention to and be involved in children's academic and social activities

6. A non-coercive approach to discipline children

7. Treating children democratically


Strategy of Development of Self Esteem in Early Childhood

There are several good ways to shape and develop a child's self-esteem, among others are :

1.       Identify the competency domains that are considered important for the child

A child's self-esteem will rise when he can perform competently in a domain that is considered important to the child. Therefore, parents or educators should be able to direct children to identify where the arena is considered important by the child, for example, if he is competent in swimming, then cultivate a competent spirit in the child so that they can be confident in appearing in the arena.

2.       Emotional support and social approval

Some children have low self-esteem due to a troubled family background or have experienced violence or neglect where there is no emotional support.

3.       Performance

A person who has achievements will be more confident so that his self-esteem also increases. But remember that this achievement is the result of the child's persistence and not an achievement in mastering all fields. Specialization in children's abilities is more important than demanding that children have good grades in all fields.

4.       Coping

Children need a figure that can be imitated so that it can be reflected in their behavior. Therefore, it is necessary to provide good and bad examples and teach children to identify them.

There are two things that hinder the development of self esteem in early childhood, namely feelings of fear and feelings of guilt. (Branden, 2005:54). Children feel they do not have the courage to face the facts, as children are used to running away from problems rather than facing them to be able to solve them. Feelings of guilt that are misunderstood by children are also a failure factor in the development of children's self-esteem. The child's fear of violating the applicable norms and has been embedded in the child.

In conclusion, children's self-esteem is formed and developed from an early age starting from the family environment, especially from their parents. It is necessary for children to understand what are their strengths and weaknesses in order to control their feelings, such as self-confidence and self-respect. At least make sure the child feels positive feelings in four mental states, namely:

1. Feeling bound, the child will feel an inner satisfaction in his relationship with his parents and family, causing a sense of attachment.

2. Unique taste, the child feels he is special.

3. A sense of power, a feeling that comes from having the resources and ability to influence the environment.

4. Models, examples of individual behavior, philosophies, and actions that serve as models for realizing the values, ideals, and personal benchmarks of children.

The four mental conditions must be present continuously in the child. If one of them is missing, it can be ascertained that the child's self-esteem will be disturbed. The development of children's self-esteem from an early age is the responsibility of parents and educators, so good collaboration is needed in providing direction to children from all aspects, both related to brain, psychomotor, and psychological intelligence.


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