May 2023


The Importance of Positive Self-Esteem for Kids

Self-esteem is how much people value themselves and how important they believe they are in their world. You might hear people talk about the importance of self-esteem in kids, and “positive self-esteem” in particular. But what exactly is it? And why does it matter so much?  Simply put, positive self-esteem is when people feel good about themselves. Learn more about positive self-esteem, and how to help your child build it.

Why positive self-esteem is important for kids

Kids with positive self-esteem feel confident and capable. They value themselves and their abilities. They’re proud of the things they can do and want to try their best.

When kids are confident and secure about who they are, they’re more likely to have a growth mindset. That means they can motivate themselves to take on new challenges and cope with and learn from mistakes. They’re also more likely to stand up for themselves and ask for help when they need it.

How kids develop positive self-esteem

Kids develop positive self-esteem by working hard toward a goal and seeing their hard work pay off over and over again. Accomplishing things shows them they have what it takes to face new challenges. Their success makes them feel good about themselves, and they learn that it’s even OK to fail.

When kids do well at something, it also pleases other people, like their friends and the adults who care about them. That feedback also makes them feel good. And over time, they continue to build positive self-esteem.

When kids have positive self-esteem they:

  • Feel respected
  • Are resilient and feel proud even when they make a mistake
  • Have a sense of control over activities and events in their life
  • Act independently
  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Are comfortable and secure in forming relationships
  • Have the courage to make good decisions, even in the face of peer pressure

The toll of negative self-esteem on kids

Many kids have trouble building and maintaining positive self-esteem, for lots of reasons. One common reason is when kids struggle in school.  If kids experience failure in school, they probably don’t get a lot of positive feedback from adults or their classmates. The feedback they do get is often negative because they’re constantly hearing about the things they didn’t do well.

In some cases, they might get positive feedback that’s not sincere. This can make them mistrust the adults who are supposed to be helping them. Or they might become wary of the kids who are supposed to be their “friends.”  As a result, they feel less sure of themselves and their abilities. They may not feel motivated to try things that are hard for them, and have a tough time dealing with mistakes. Deep down, they may not believe they’re worthy of good treatment or success.

Kids who have negative self-esteem may also:

  • Feel frustrated, angry, anxious, or sad
  • Lose interest in learning
  • Have a hard time making and keeping friends
  • Be more likely to be teased or bullied
  • Become withdrawn or give in to peer pressure
  • Develop self-defeating ways to deal with challenges, like quitting, avoidance, silliness, and denial

Kids with negative self-esteem can also have a harder time standing up for themselves. In other words, they have trouble developing strong self-advocacy skills.

How to help your child build positive self-esteem

Building self-esteem is possible. Kids can learn to improve how they see and value themselves. Being a supportive, realistic — but not overprotective — parent or caregiver is key. Asking teachers to be supportive but realistic is important, too.

It’s important to praise kids in ways that build self-esteem and teach them to be proud of their efforts and accomplishments. Praise kids’ efforts, but don’t lavish praise on everything they do. Kids know when they’ve been successful and worked hard — and when they haven’t.  Friendship is a big part of building positive self-esteem, too. That doesn’t mean kids have to have tons of friends or be popular. Just having one friend who accepts you for who you are can make all the difference. 

Help your child discover strengths to build on. You can even help your child set a “competence anchor” to build self-esteem. A competence anchor helps kids trigger a memory of something they did well in the past. That allows them to tap into joy and confidence and take that feeling with them as they tackle challenges.


How to Give Praise that Builds Kids’ Self-Esteem

You know it’s important to praise kids. But it’s even more meaningful for kids to learn to appreciate their own efforts. Self-esteem comes from working hard toward a goal and feeling good about it. So when kids see that their hard work is paying off, it helps them develop the ability to self-praise.

What you say — and how you say it — can help kids to recognize things that they should be proud of. Here are some suggestions.

Praise can help motivate kids. But self-esteem comes from working hard toward a goal. It’s important to give kids opportunities to find new interests to pursue and work at. 


Strengths chain: Hands-on activity to help kids identify their strengths  

To help kids thrive, recognizing their strengths is just as important as working on their challenges. Here’s a cool — and crafty — way to identify kids’ strengths and connect them in a paper chain, or a “strengths chain.”

Download and print the set of worksheets below and follow the directions. 

For families: Make the strengths chain with your child. Working together will help both of you see your child’s strengths and how they link together. Planning to do this activity with more than one child? Print a full set of worksheets for each child in case they may have many of the same strengths.

For educators: After your students create their own strengths chains, connect the chains to make one long chain to hang in your classroom. The activity can spark a conversation in your class about how everyone has strengths and challenges. Plus, the completed strengths chain is a visible reminder to your students that they all contribute to making the classroom community stronger. 



FREE: The Power of Positive Parenting


What you will learn:

  • What is Positive Parenting and Positive Discipline?
  • The 5 Criteria for Positive Discipline 
  • Where we are & where we want to go with our children and learn the most important parenting tool! 
  • Positive Discipline Tool Exploration 
  • How you can learn more! 

This class is interactive and experiential. Please be prepared to participate. I will send you an email prior to class with useful tools and tips as well as material for our activities.

May Class
​Date: Monday,  May 8, 2023
Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Friday, May 5, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.

June Class
​Date: Thursday,  June15, 2023
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Monday, June 12, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.
July Class
​Date: Monday,  July 17, 2023
Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Friday, July 14, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.

August Class
​Date: Wednesday,  August 23, 2023
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Sunday, August 20, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.

FREE: The Power of Routines:  Summer Addition

What you will learn:

  • Why Routines are so important to children?
  • 5 Routines your summer needs
  • What happens to behavior when routines are changed
  • How to create and implement a Summer Routine and still have fun
  • Roadblocks to Routine Success 
  • How you can learn more about Positive Parenting! 

Date: Sunday, June 11, 2023
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom

FREE: The Power of Routines:  Back to School Addition

What you will learn:

  • Why Routines are so important to children?
  • What happens to behavior when routines are changed
  • How and When to shift gears to a new routine
  • 5 new routines to get your Children ready to start school
  • Roadblocks to Routine Success 
  • How you can learn more about Positive Parenting! 

Date: Sunday, August 13, 2023
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom


Positive Parenting Bootcamp - 3 Session Course

Join parents & caregivers like you for 3 Sessions of Positive Parenting classes taught by Melissa Middelthon. Based on Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline books, you will learn to discipline with firmness and kindness. Have fun with kids and set the foundation for important social and life skills. Help children feel a sense of belonging and significance through mutual respect and encouragement. These classes are a fun way to connect with other parents in the community and practice the skills over a few weeks so that you can go more in-depth with the material.


"The class was very helpful in reducing stress and frustration in parenting. The knowledge that it is never too late to change your approach...we are so adaptable." 

"Taking this class was one of the best things I've done for myself and my family since my child was born. I refer back to the class's concepts in order to deal with day-to-day issues and also feel like I have an overarching philosophy to help me as I navigate the parenting world."


A course for parents and caregivers

 Parents and caregivers will learn long ­term solutions for raising kids to feel “I am capable, I can contribute, and I can use my personal power in useful ways to improve my life and the lives of others!” Positive Discipline teaches long ­term parenting skills that will encourage children to think for themselves, become more responsible and have a greater respect for themselves and others. Feel supported while learning some non­-punitive, respectful methods that will incorporate kindness and firmness into your relationship with your children. Get to the core of your children's misbehavior, practice encouraging tools and gain a sense of accomplishment.

This is a highly engaging ONLINE course that works best if you can participate on a computer or tablet. We will be co-creating a safe and supportive space that will include a mix of lecture, small and large group activities, role play and collaboration. 

Course Registration: $150 



Pricing includes one digital set of all materials needed for the course:  Positive Discipline, by Jane Nelsen, The Positive Discipline Workbook, Parenting Tool cards, and bonus access to videos of key lessons and a Family Meeting Toolkit.


Fall Session:

Dates to be announced soon.


Parent and Family Coaching 

Parent coaching is designed to provide insight, help parents discover newfound energy in their parenting, develop an appreciation for what they have and who they are, and create sustainable ways to achieve their vision or dream for their family.  Different than therapy, coaching’s unique methodology allows the coach to provide support as a cheerleader, guide, and mirror. Coaching is perfect for helping parents who are feeling overwhelmed, parents who are baffled by their children’s behavior, parents who are looking to bolster their parenting “tool box,” and parents who simply want to take their family’s life from good to great.  Interested to see if Coaching would be a good fit for your family?  Click below to schedule a complimentary discovery call.


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