Feeling Good About Yourself and Your Child

What is Self-Worth?

Positive self-worth means feeling good about yourself. It helps you grow into a happy and confident person.

Building self-worth

How you treat your children affects the way they feel about themselves. When children feel good about themselves, they have a high sense of self-worth. One of the most important things parents can do for their children is to build their self-worth.

What builds self-worth?

  • Your physical responses to your children (hugs, kisses, high-fives)
  • What you say to your children (“I love you,” or “I’m proud of you.”)
  • How you feel about yourself (I’m trying hard to be a good parent.)
  • How your children are treated by other kids
  • How your children are treated by other adults – teachers, relatives, babysitters, etc.

You are your children's advocates. Stand up for your kids.

How kids feel when they have self-worth

  • I am loved, no matter what happens to me.
  • I can do things by myself.
  • I have something to offer to others.
  • I count!

Children need to feel good about themselves. When you care about your children, they learn to care about themselves. Your respect for your children becomes their self-respect. Believe in your children!


Praise is one of the best ways you can influence your children's behavior. When you praise, tell your children exactly what they did that you liked.

When you praise your child:

  • Move close to your child and look at him.
  • Smile and say what you liked. For example: “I really like the way you put your books away.”
  • Praise the behavior, not the child.
  • Show affection. (hug, high-five)
  • Praise right away. For example: Three-year-old Joshua shows his father a painting he made at school. Father tells him, “Joshua, what a pretty picture. I like the way you used blue and green and made a happy face. Tell me about it!” Father then proudly hangs the picture for everyone to see.

Words of praise

  1. I like being with you.
  2. It makes me feel good when you...!
  3. I can’t wait to tell mom/dad what a great job you did!
  4. Boy, that’s something I want to write to grandma/grandpa about!
  5. You go girl!
  6. You're acting so grown up.
  7. How thoughtful!
  8. I’m glad you’re my son/daughter.
  9. I’m so proud of you!
  10. That must make you feel good!
  11. You really handled that well.
  12. I like it when you...(smile, listen quietly).
  13. Excellent!
  14. You’re something else!
  15. Your laughter makes me laugh on the inside!
  16. You're so special to me.
  17. You worked really hard on that!
  18. Fantastic!
  19. You really know how to pitch in and help!
  20. I’m so impressed!
  21. Outstanding!
  22. You’re tops with me!
  23. You really like doing that!
  24. I knew you had it in you!
  25. I’m proud of you when you try your best.
  26. You have been special from the day you were born.
  27. There’s no one else like you anywhere!
  28. You’re all that!
  29. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you as a son/daughter.
  30. That deserves a hug.
  31. Thanks for sharing that with me.
  32. You have so much to offer!
  33. When you do things like that, it makes everybody happy.
  34. You’re terrific!
  35. Awesome!
  36. You deserve a hand for that!
  37. You’re a star in my eyes!
  38. I really admire it when you...!
  39. It touches my heart when you...!
  40. I will always remember how well you did that.
  41. Cool!
  42. Only you could do it that way!
  43. It makes everyone feel good when you...!
  44. You're the man!
  45. Incredible!
  46. It makes me feel great to see you solve your problems.
  47. You did it!
  48. That should make the evening news!
  49. You deserve a reward for that!
  50. Do you know how much I love you?