Next Time You Make A Negative Comment About Your Kid, Remember The 3-1 Ratio

Having good self-esteem is so important for our mental health – and with social media being exceptionally popular now, it can feel harder than ever to keep our kids feeling confident about themselves and their bodies.

Self-esteem is how a person feels about themselves. According to the charity Young Minds, most children will have dips in self-esteem as they go through different stages or challenges in life, such as bullying or sitting exams.

And as parents, it can be tough to know what to do to help them through these dips in how they feel about, and view, themselves.

Signs of low self-esteem in children

According to the mental health charity, children and young people with low self-esteem might regularly:

  • have a negative image of themselves
  • lack confidence
  • find it hard to make and keep friendships
  • feel lonely and isolated
  • tend to avoid new things and find change hard
  • can’t deal well with failure
  • tend to put themselves down
  • are not proud of what they achieve
  • always think they could have done better
  • are constantly comparing themselves to their peers in a negative way.

Thankfully there are some relatively easy ways we, as parents, can help boost our children’s self-esteem.

Apply the 3-1 ratio to everyday life

It’s pretty hard to never utter a negative comment to your child (especially when you’ve reached the end of your tether and they’ve been pushing your buttons all day).

According to Big Life Journal, a popular Instagram account offering parenting advice, for every negative comment you make about your child, you should then balance it out with three positive ones.

So, for example, if your child spilled a drink everywhere and you reacted with: “I can’t believe you did that. Why can’t you just hold your cup?”

The experts behind the account advise following up with at least three positive comments to your child that day. So things like: “I noticed you shared with your brother, thank you” or “thank you for putting your jumper away”.

“Scientists discovered that it takes three positive experiences to offset one negative experience,” they wrote in an Instagram post.

“Your child’s brain is wired to remember and focus on negative comments. So, to build your child’s self-esteem, apply this 3-1 ratio.”

Other ways to boost self-esteem, according to Young Minds, include:

  • Let them know you value effort rather than perfection
  • Encourage them to try new challenges
  • Encourage them to voice their opinions and ideas
  • Ask them about three good things that went well during their day
  • Acknowledge how they feel and help them to express this in words
  • Spend quality time together doing things they enjoy.

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