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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 established in childhood, although it is a lifelong process of development.
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.
Last Revised: January 11, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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