Chapter 4


“Allow yourself to fail and you

 will be more likely to succeed.”


Edward Deci, Psychologist






Learning Objectives

•      Define self-esteem and explain its importance.


•      Describe how childhood experiences affect self-esteem.


•      Define self-expectancy and explain two ways to boost it.


•      Explain why self-acceptance is important for high self-esteem.


•      Explain how to change negative self-talk into positive self-talk.


•      Explain how to handle criticism well.


•      What do you think self-worth is based on?


•      Nothing – it is your right, it should be based on recognition that your worth is independent of your achievements, just because you are a unique human being.

The Power of Self-Esteem

•             Self-Esteem  Confidence in and respect for yourself.


•             Anxiety  Generalized feeling of worry and nervousness that does not have any specific cause.


Effects of High Self-Esteem:

•            accept your strengths and weaknesses

•            express your true thoughts and feelings

•            establish emotional connections to other people

•            give and receive compliments

•            give and receive affection

•            try out new ideas and experiences

•            express your creativity

•            stand up for yourself

•            handle stress and anger calmly

•            see the future with optimism


Effects of Low Self-Esteem:

•              mistrust other people

•              have difficulty developing intimate relationships

•              fear mistakes and have trouble making decisions

•              criticize themselves relentlessly, but have difficulty handling criticism from others

•              anticipate problems, crises, and failure

•              ignore their own needs

•              give in to unreasonable requests

•              dislike being the center of attention

•              withhold their true thoughts and feelings from others

•              live in fear of rejection and disapproval

•              worry about being a burden on others

•              feel they lack control of their lives

•              miss out on the joy of life


        Activity 18: Test Your Self-Esteem


Childhood Origins of Self-Esteem





• Parental behavior

• More expressions of affection during childhood

• Greater parental interest in child’s activities

• More accepting of their                  children

• Sound, consistent discipline

• Parents’ own self-esteem

• Relatively high 

Parenting Styles

•      Two major dimensions underlie parental behavior:

•     Parental Acceptance:  influences the degree to which children internalize the standards and expectations of their parents

•     Parental Control:  strictness of parental standards

Dimensions of Child-Rearing


•    Authoritative: high acceptance, high control

•    Authoritarian: low acceptance, high control

•    Permissive: High acceptance, low control

•    Neglectful: Low acceptance, low control

Dimensions of Child-Rearing


•      Set high goals

•      Accepting of children

•      Responsive to their needs

•      Encourage verbal give-and-take

•      Allow questioning of parental requests

•      Provide age-appropriate explanations


Dimensions of Child-Rearing


•       Highly demanding & controlling

•       Use of physical punishment or threat

•       Issue commands, to be obeyed without questioning

•       Maintain tight control, even as children mature

•       Emotionally distant

•       Rejecting


Dimensions of Child-Rearing


•      Few or no demands

•      Allow children free expression of impulses

•      Set few limits on appropriate behavior

•      Responsive

•      Warmly accepting

•      Indulge their children’s desires


Dimensions of Child-Rearing


•       Provide basic physical & emotional needs, but little else

•       Convey the impression that they do not particularly care about their children

•       Uninvolved

•       Unsupportive

•       Minimal supervision

•       Little time spent together

Effects of Parenting Styles

•      Parenting styles are associated with different personality traits in children

•      Data are correlational and does not establish that the parenting style is the cause of the children’s behavior; the direction of influence most likely goes both ways.


Effects of Parenting Styles



•      Self-reliant

•      Friendly

•      Cooperative

•      Self-Controlled

•      Coping skills

•      Curious

•      Achievement-oriented

Effects of Parenting Styles


•       Low self-esteem

•       Poor social skills

•       Conflicted & irritable

•       Fearful & Apprehensive

•       Moody & Unhappy

•       Easily annoyed

•       Passively hostile

•       Prone to stress

•       Aimless

•       Unfriendly

Effects of Parenting Styles


•      Impulsive & aggressive

•      Easily frustrated

•      Rebellious

•      Low in self-reliance & self-control

•      Domineering

•      Aimless

•      Low in achievement


Effects of Parenting Styles




•      Low self-esteem

•      Moody

•      Impulsive

•      Aggressive


Toward Effective Parenting

•      There are five basic principles which should be tailored to the age and developmental level of a specific child…

Toward Effective Parenting

1:  Set high, but reasonable standards

•      Expect behavior that is socially & age appropriate

•      Expect their full potential in school & other activities

•      Parents who do not expect much from their children are teaching them not to expect much from themselves

Toward Effective Parenting


2:  Stay alert for good behavior & reward it

•      Praise good behavior so your child knows what you want

•      Most parents pay attention to misbehavior and ignore good behavior, which is a backward approach


Toward Effective Parenting

3:  Explain your reasons when you ask a                                         child to do something


•      Explain the purpose of your request

•      Can make an illogical demand seem more like a reasonable request

•      Encourages self-control in a child

Toward Effective Parenting

4:  Encourage children to take others’ perspectives

•      Talk to children about the effects of their behavior on others

•      “How would you feel if someone did that to you?”

•      Promotes empathy and moral development

Toward Effective Parenting

5:  Enforce rules consistently

•      Be clear of what you expect from them

•      There must be consequences when standards are not met

•      Fosters self-control in children

Using Punishment Effectively

To use punishment effectively, it should be used less often

•      Side Effects of Punishment:

•     Triggers strong negative emotional responses, such as anxiety, fear, anger and resentment, which can lead to hostility

•     Can create a general suppression of behavior, where a child will withdraw and inhibit themselves from any behavior for fear of punishment

•     May increase aggressive behavior when a child subdued to frequent physical punishment


Using Punishment Effectively

•      Though punishment may be overused, it still plays a role in disciplinary efforts


•      There are five guidelines which summarize research in using punishment effectively while minimizing its side effects…

Using Punishment Effectively

1:  Punishment should not damage a child’s self-esteem

•      Punishment should send the message: the behavior is undesirable, not the child

•      No harsh physical punishment, derogatory accusations, or hurtful words


Using Punishment Effectively

2:  Punishment should be swift

•      A delay undermines its impact

•      “Wait until your father gets home…”

•      Quick punishment demonstrates the connection between forbidden behavior and its consequences


Using Punishment Effectively

3:  Punishment should be consistent

•      To eliminate undesirable behavior, it should be punished every time it arises

•      Inconsistency creates confusion

Using Punishment Effectively

4:  Punishment should be explained

•      The reason for punishment should be explained as fully as possible

•      The more understanding a child has about the reason for their punishment, the more effective the punishment tends to be

•      These authoritative-style explanations helps a child develop self-control


Using Punishment Effectively

5:  Point out alternative, positive ways to behave and reinforce those actions

•      Don’t simply tell a child what NOT to do

•      Punish undesirable behaviors, but reward positive, alternative ones

•      Troublesome behaviors are often attention-seeking devices

•      Provide a child with more acceptable ways to gain attention

Tough Love vs. Spanking - Good Argument

Most of the American populace thinks it improper to spank children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of  'those moments.'

One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.

Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc.


•      Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together. Eye to eye contact helps a lot too.
I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.














•       This works with grandchildren,
nieces, and nephews as well.



•    This works with grandchildren,
nieces, and nephews as well.

Support and Loneliness

•             Shyness  Anxiety in social situations that comes from worrying about what others think about you.


•             Loneliness  Sadness about being alone.


•             Social Support  Words and actions from other people that help you feel valued, cared for and connected to a community.

        Emotional Support: trust, empathy, caring, love concern, and unconditional approval.

        Instrumental Support: time, advice, information, money and labor.

        Activity 19: Social Support and Self-Esteem


Raising Your Self-Esteem

•             Not all successful people grew up feeling good about themselves.  Often, they had to learn to like themselves through practice.


•             Self-expectancy  The belief that you are able to achieve what you want out of life.


        Personal Journal 4.1 Examining Your Self-Expectancy


Success Secret

•             If you believe you will be successful at something, you probably will.

Guidelines for Increasing Self-Esteem:

•             Recognize that you control your self- image

•             Learn more about yourself

•             Don’t let others set your goals

•             Recognize unrealistic goals

•             Modify negative self-talk

•             Emphasize your strengths

•             Approach others with a positive outlook

Recognize that You Control
Your Self- Image:




Ψ          You ultimately control how you see yourself


Ψ          You do have the power to change your self-image


Ψ          Your self-image resides in your mind and is a product of your thinking


Ψ          Although others may influence your self-concept, you are the final authority.

Learn About Yourself

•      Having accurate information about your qualities is essential to self-definition and self-esteem.

Don’t let others set your goals:


   Make your own decisions about what you will do and what you believe in.


Recognize unrealistic goals:

§        Recognize  reality so that you do not condemn yourself for failure.

§        Compare yourself against similar others so that you do not hurt your self-esteem

Modify Negative Self-Talk:

ΨAlways take credit for your successes and consider the possibility that your failures may not be your fault.

ΨStop irrational thinking and negative self-talk before they breed poor self-esteem.

Emphasize your strengths:


ΨEveryone has strengths and weaknesses.

ΨYou should accept those weaknesses that you are powerless to change and work on those that you can change, without becoming obsessed about it.

ΨAt the same time, you should recognize your strengths and learn to appreciate them.

Approach others with
a positive outlook:


§   Facilitate your esteem building efforts by engaging in a positive outlook towards others.

§   Approaching people with a positive, supportive outlook will promote rewarding interactions and help you earn their acceptance.

§   At the same time, your self-esteem will be enhanced.

The National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE)




v NASE believes that self-esteem is “The experience of being capable of meeting life’s challenges and being worthy of happiness.”


v Mission Statement: To “fully integrate self-esteem into the fabric of American society so that every individual, no matter what their age or background, experiences personal worth and happiness.”

Helpful Self-Esteem Links:

•      Self-Esteem learning Foundation:


•      Building Self-Esteem:


•      The Bright Side:


Building Your Self-Expectancy

•             Create Successful Experiences                  Set and accomplish a serious of increasingly challenging goals.


SMART goals example, public speaking skills:


•             Join in class discussion once per week.

•             Join in class discussion three times per week.

•             Join in class discussion daily.

•             Participate in semester-end group presentation in class.

•             Give solo presentation at club meeting next quarter.

•             Give speech at school meeting at end of school year.


        Activity 20:  Accomplishment Inventory.

Coping and Avoidance

•             Coping  Facing up to uncomfortable situations.


•             Avoidance  Unwillingness to face uncomfortable

                            situations or psychological realities.


Common Avoidance Behaviors

•              Self-criticism

•              Making jokes about the situation

•              Becoming obsessed with work to avoid thinking about the problem

•              Escaping through activities such as shopping, TV, or sleeping

•              Venting unpleasant feelings without taking action

•              Abusing alcohol or other drugs


Success Secret

•              When you face your problems head-on, your self-esteem grows.


        Personal Journal 4.2  Learning to Cope

Learning to Like Yourself
You, Flaws and All

•             Self-Acceptance  Recognition and acceptance of what is true about yourself.


Mending a Negative-Self Image


•             Take a Personal Self-Inventory

  Activity 21: Personal Inventory


•             Accept Your Physical Self

      People who accept themselves are attractive to others. Their healthy self-esteem comes through from the inside out.


Mending a Negative-Self Image continued…

•             You’re Okay As You Are Now.

     You can’t change your genetics, or go back in time and grow up in a different environment.  


•             Kick the Comparing Habit

     Personal Journal 4.3  Social Comparison Log


•             Possible Selves

     The person(s) you think you might realistically become in the future.


      Personal Journal 4.4. Your Ideal Self


•             Self-Talk  What you say or think to yourself about yourself.


•             Inner Critic  The critical voice that bombards you with negative self-talk.  Origins of the critic are negative messages you were given as a child.


•             Role of the Critic  Your inner critic hurts your self-esteem by repeating negative messages from your past.


•             Labels  A particularly damaging form of self-talk. Examples?


           Activity 22:  Negative Self-Talk Log


Success Secret

•             Learn to stop the inner critic in its tracks.

Monitoring Negative Self-Talk

•             Stop Those Thoughts!  Catch yourself whenever you engage in negative self-talk.


•             Focus Your Subconscious Mind on the Positive  Example: Say, “I feel awake!” rather than “I don’t feel tired.”


•             Use Affirmations Use positive self-statements that help you think of yourself in a positive, caring way.  Examples?


Success Secret

•             Turn your negative self-statements into positive affirmations.

Criticism and Self-Esteem

•             Criticism  Any remark that contains a judgment or evaluation.


•             Constructive Criticism  Addresses specific behavior, does not attack you as a person, usually makes mention of positive points, and offers helpful suggestions for improvement.


•             Destructive Criticism  Usually an entirely negative opinion without any helpful suggestions to do things differently.

Ineffective Styles of Handling Destructive Criticism

•             Aggressive Style

Critic: “You painted that? It looks like a three-year-old did it.”

You: “You just can’t keep your mouth shut, can you?”


•             Passive Style--very damaging to your self-esteem.

Critic: “You did a terrible job on this report.”

You: “You’re right. I’m sorry I let you down.”


•             Passive-Aggressive Style

Critic: “You look like you’ve put on weight.”

You: “I know. You’re probably embarrassed to be seen in public

with me.” Then “accidentally” spills coffee on the critic’s shirt.




Asking for specifics from a person who has given a general or vague criticism.



Critic: “I don’t know how you get through life being so lazy.”

You: “Can you give me an example of my laziness?”

Critic: “For one thing, you spend all weekend watching TV.”


Critic: “You messed up all the files when you reorganized the office.”

You: “How exactly did I mess up the files?”

Critic: “Nothing is in alphabetical order anymore.”


Critic: “You’re a slob.”

You: “What makes you think of me as a slob?”

Critic: “Just look at that sink overflowing with dishes.”


Handling Destructive Criticism

•             Acknowledge Facts  Agree with the specific part of the criticism that you can honestly acknowledge to be true. This ends the criticism.



Critic: “You’re so lazy. You spend all weekend watching TV.”

You: “You’re right, I spend a lot of time watching TV on the

           weekends, but that doesn’t mean I’m lazy


•             Acknowledge Feelings   If you truly cannot find anything to agree within the criticism, show the critic that you recognize the feelings that are motivating the criticism. This ends the criticism.


Critic: “You’re a slob. Look at that sink overflowing with dishes.”

You: “I know you hate to leave dirty dishes in the sink. However, I

           like to let them pile up and then do them all at once.”


Responding to Constructive Criticism










Handling criticism well requires the ability to stand

up for your rights without threatening the self-esteem

of the other person.


Success Secrets

•             You have the right to be treated with respect.


•             When you make assertiveness a habit, you increase others’ self-esteem for you and your esteem for others.


•             Constructive criticism helps you improve yourself.


•             Listen to constructive criticism, restate it, and then ask for suggestions.