Tips for Parents
Many experts suggest that self-esteem, or self-respect, is something that eludes many college students. Does your student believe in herself? For those young people who don't believe in themselves, adjusting to college life can be really difficult. Since each year of college brings with it new challenges and dynamics, self-esteem issues can rear their head at the start of every academic year.
Some of the signs of a healthy self-esteem include:
- feeling competent in one's ability to cope with life's ever-changing situations
- setting realistic short-range and long-range goals
- trusting one's judgment, opinions and ideas in most matters
- knowing where to get help when the need arises
- feeling capable of making sound, responsible choices
- handling change when it occurs
- being open to both positive and negative feedback
- being willing to take risks
- maintaining a positive, energetic and assertive attitude (generally)
Experiencing a dip in self-esteem from time to time is normal. In fact, it's expected. These dips keep us grounded and help us continually evaluate who we are and where we are going in the future. If your student seems unusually anxious or negative during these next couple of months, you can help her adjust to the changes in her life by:
- Offering praise, when appropriate. But make sure it's based in reality and not just an attempt to make her feel better. She'll know if you don't really mean it.
- Building on pre-existing strengths. Focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses is one sure way to improve your self-esteem. By remembering what she is good at, and trying to improve those skills even more, her competence – and confidence — will continue to grow.
- Helping her to avoid making comparisons with others. There is no use in comparing ourselves to others. Encourage your student to focus on her efforts and making herself the very best she can be.
- Encouraging her to try new things. You never know when hidden talents will surface and college is just the place to discover them! There is no other time when your student will have such a wide array of opportunities right at her fingertips. Suggest she check out clubs, organizations and lectures if she thinks they may be of interest to her.
Prepared for our institution by PaperClip Communications, www.paper-clip.com.
Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424