Self-esteem is the core belief people have about themselves. Healthy self-esteem helps a person to act responsibly, cooperate well with others, deal with difficulties, and have the confidence to try new things.

The foundation of self-esteem is built during childhood. But developing self-esteem is a lifelong process.

Parents are the most significant influences on a child's self-esteem. Parents promote a child's healthy self-esteem by initiating a cycle of belonging, learning, and contributing. A sense of belonging helps a child to participate in learning new things. Learning makes a child feel confident in making contributions. And making contributions helps secure a feeling of belonging.

An unhealthy self-esteem causes problems throughout life. Mental health problems, problems with other people, and lack of confidence are some of the possible consequences of low self-esteem.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine