017: Don’t bother trying to increase your child’s self-esteem

increasing-self-esteem

 

Self-Esteem
When I first started researching this episode I thought it would be a bit of a slam-dunk.  Self-esteem is a good thing, right?
I was really surprised to find that there’s little evidence that self-esteem helps children to do better in school, or even be happier, so there’s a good deal of disagreement among psychologists about whether encouraging self-esteem is necessarily a good thing.
This episode digs into these issues to understand (as much as scientists currently can) the benefits of self-esteem – and what qualities parents might want to encourage in their children in place of self-esteem to enable better outcomes.  It also touches on our self-esteem as parents – because don’t we all want to think that our child is just a little bit special, so we know we’re good parents?

References

Bachman, J.G. & O’Malley, P.M. (1986). Self-concepts, self-esteem, and educational experiences: The frog pond revisited (again). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50, 35-46.
Baumeister, R.F., Campbell, J.D., Krueger, J.I., & Vohs, K.D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4(1), 1-44. DOI: 10.1111/1529-1006.01431
Beggan, J.K. (1992). On the social nature of nonsocial perception: The mere ownership effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 62(2), 229-237. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.62.2.229
Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology 28(5), 759-775. Retrieved from: http://cmapspublic2.ihmc.us/rid=1LQX400NM-RBVKH9-1KL6/the%20origins%20of%20attachment%20theory%20john%20bowlby%20and_mary_ainsworth.pdf
Brummelman, E., Thomaes, S., Orobio de Castro, B., Overbeek, G., & Bushman, B.J. (2014). “That’s not just beautiful – that’s incredibly beautiful!”: The adverse impact of inflated praise on children with low self-esteem. Psychological Science Online, 1-8. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613514251
California State Department of Education (1990). Toward a state of esteem: The final report of the California task force to promote self-esteem and personal and social responsibility. Full report available at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED321170.pdf
Coleman, P.K. & Karraker, K.H. (1997). Self-efficacy and parenting quality: Findings and future applications. Developmental Review 18, 47-85. DOI: 10.1006/drev.1997.0448
Cvencek, D., Greenwald, A.G., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2016). Implicit measures for preschool children confirm self-esteem’s role in maintaining a balanced identity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 62, 50-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.09.015

Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine.
Forsyth, D.R., & Kerr, N.A. (1999, August). Are adaptive illusions adaptive? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
Guindon, M.H. (2010). Self-esteem across the lifespan. New York: Routledge.
Harter, S. (1993). Causes and consequences of low self-esteem in children and adolescents. In R.F. Baumeister (Ed.), Self-esteem: The puzzle of low self-regard. New York: Plenum.
James, W. (1983). The principles of psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1890)

Joslin, K.R. (1994). Positive parenting from A to Z. New York: Ballantine.

Kutob, R.M., Senf, J.H., Crago, M., & Shisslak, C.M. (2010). Concurrent and longitudinal predictors of self-esteem in elementary and middle school girls. Journal of School Health 80(5), 240-248. DOI: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00496.x
Mruk, C.J. (2006). Self-esteem, research, theory, and practice (3rd Ed.). New York: Springer.
Neff, K.D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 5(1), 1-12. DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x
Neff, K.D., & McGehee, P. (2010). Self-compassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults. Self and Identity 9, 225-240. DOI: 10.1080/15298860902979307
Vohs, K.D., Bardone, A.M., Joiner, T.E., Abramson, L.Y., & Heatherton, T.F. (1999). Perfectionism, perceived weight status, and self-esteem interact to predict bulimic symptoms: A model of bulimic symptom development. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 108, 695-700. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.108.4.695

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