Development of a child’s self-esteem is a remarkable thing. Until children have the cognitive capacity to engage in some sense of self-appraisal, somewhere between 6 and 8 years old, they are just beginning to learn and become aware. For example, they discover what
it is to have a sense of separateness, self-recognition and self-efficacy. They even begin to internalize some of these concepts depending on the environment in which they are growing and learning.
Remarkable stages of self-esteem in children
Once again, I will turn to the work research compiled by Sarah Landy in Pathways to Competence to help us understand the actual ages and stages of the development of self-esteem in children. Here are the typical steps in how children step through these stages.
Understanding the developmental phases of self-esteem can really help caregivers of children acknowledge how this growth occurs and even encourage its development.
It can be easy to judge some of these behaviors as “selfish” when they are, in fact, developmental. Some caregivers may even think they need to discourage children from these behaviors since a child will appear to be self-absorbed. Yet, these are exactly the very things that help children have confidence and grow in understanding of their strengths, sense of self, and how to relate to others in a healthy way.
Hopefully, for those who are caring for children, these stages will become recognizable as a positive sense of growth in our children’s self-esteem. It is indeed exciting to see them emerge in these behaviors and capacities.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Some research taken from Pathways to Competence, Second Edition, Sarah Landy, p. 334.