Inappropriately high levels of self esteem may be worse that low levels. Levels of self esteem that are too high lead children to believe that they are more important than anyone else, and that they should never be frustrated by work or challenges in life. It leads young people to believe that they should always have their way.
An inflated level of self-esteem ultimately discourages children and teens from learning how to work hard, and sometimes leads into criminal behavior. Anti-social and criminal behavior is fueled by the criminal believing that his wants and needs are more important than the needs, wants, or rights of others.
Inflated levels of self-esteem also are directly at odds with the development of one’s spirituality and relationship with God. After all, who needs to develop a relationship with God when he believes that he is more important, or intelligent, or more powerful than God? People are cheated in every important aspect of their lives, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, when their sense of self-esteem is inflated.
So how can we instill appropriate levels of self-esteem in our children? Briefly, here are few key thoughts.
Change your perception of life from “self-esteem” to “self-confidence.” There is a difference as wide as the sea. To “esteem” someone, including one’s self, involves feelings of “reverence” or “awe” or “honor” or “glory.”
Do not get carried away with trying to make our kids feel good about themselves by starting to ascribe to them positions of honor normally reserved for Presidents and Kings, and perhaps for God. The majority of our society’s problems are caused by people thinking that they are more important than anyone else in the world. This is not something that we really want to encourage in our children, or in ourselves.
Instead we do want to encourage self-confidence. This attribute becomes especially powerful and beautiful when paired with the virtue of self-control. Raise your children to have these two character traits, and you will have wonderful and successful children.