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BEFORE You Begin


You are likely here because you love a child and want to do your part in creating a successful, thoughtful young person with positive self-esteem. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, sitters and others who interact with children on a regular basis play a big role in their development. It truly takes a village.


Enlisting all the adults who are part of the village to agree on expectations, responsibilities and consequences is no small task. Getting them to follow through is even more difficult. Unfortunately, any weak links on this team can undermine the long-term goal – a responsible and emotionally healthy young adult.


Hopefully, you can share your insights and skills with these other adults in a way that they will hear you.


The influence of family in the first few years of life is undeniably the most important in creating a solid foundation for positive self-esteem. Regardless of how the family is identified, the most critical task is working together in the best interest of the child.


Setting limits and rules for toddlers is the beginning of creating consistent expectations and consequences. It makes it so much easier to set limits for them in school, as pre-teens and in their teen years.



“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”

– Frederick Douglass



Truer words have never been spoken.


School is the next big influence in the development of self-esteem. Since confidence is the outcome we seek, the learning environment is a crucial piece. There are many moving parts that lead to real confidence – not be confused with self-importance.


It begins and ends with clear expectations, accountability and consequences.


As you learn more about self-esteem in this e-book, you’ll find an example story that exemplifies many important principles. You’ll learn about Ben and Maria, siblings from a two-parent home with very different parenting experiences – and very different early outcomes.


Ben’s experience shows that even those who have learning difficulty can become confident, successful young people with the right team of adults supporting them. Likewise, Maria’s story shows that regardless of aptitude, confidence requires much more.


The end of this report has some self-reflection questions for you as a parent. You may find it helpful to write down your responses to these questions before you begin, and then again after you finish. As you learn more, you may find that your responses change.


Here’s to emotionally healthy young adults…