The 5 Essential Building Blocks for a Rock Solid Foundation

Written by Christy Whitman July 29, 2013
kid playing with colorful blocks

The first thing that I want to talk about is what I like to call, “The 5 Essential Building Blocks for a Rock Solid Foundation.”

The first two are:

  1. Self-confidence
  2. Self-esteem

These are sometimes confused as being the same, so let’s quickly define the difference between the two, and then we’ll dive a little deeper into each. After that, I’m going to give you some fun exercises to do with your children to help them develop both.

So, we gain a sense of self-confidence when we see ourselves mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas. If we learn and work hard in a particular area, we have confidence that we’ll succeed. And it’s this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges and persist in the face of setbacks.

This overlaps with the idea of self-esteem, which is a more general sense that we can cope with what’s going on in our lives, and that we have a right to be happy. Partly, this comes from a feeling that the people around us approve of us, which we may or may not be able to control. However, it also comes from the sense that we are behaving virtuously, that we’re competent at what we do, and that we can compete successfully when we put our minds to it.

Okay, let’s talk a little more about self-confidence so that we can help instill it in our kids.


Several things contribute to self-confidence:

First, learning a new skill and mastering it, and recognizing our own value that we bring.

Self-confidence is extremely important in almost every aspect of our lives, yet so many people struggle to find it. Sadly, this can be a vicious circle. People who lack self-confidence can find it difficult to become successful.

Self-confidence can also be built by doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it. Another way is by being willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things, as well as admitting your mistakes and learning from them.

Believe it or not, you can also build up your self-confidence by doing little things like accepting compliments graciously. A lot of us just blow them off, therefore robbing ourselves by not acknowledging an accomplishment that we may have achieved.

Simply saying, “Thanks, I really worked hard on that meal. I’m glad you recognize my efforts.”

This can go a long way towards building or maintaining your own self-confidence. And teaching this to our children is vital in ensuring that they continue to build and strengthen their confidence as well.

Okay, let’s move on to understanding self-esteem better so that we can help our children develop high self-esteem.


Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. It is the way you regard yourself. Noted psychotherapist, Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D. defines self-esteem as “the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.”

In other words, what he’s saying is … self-esteem comes from the self.

It’s not dependent on others; it’s the intrinsic value and worth you feel you have. So many of us are conditioned to look for validation that we are okay or right, based on what others think about us. We also base it on how or what we’ve accomplished and how we compare with others. We’re seeking all of this validation from the outside to determine how we feel about ourselves.

Rarely are we taught to go within and connect with ourselves to determine how we are doing and what we feel.

High self-esteem is undoubtedly one of the most critical prerequisites for a life marked by competence, fulfillment, contentment, and accomplishment.

Adults, and more importantly children, who possess healthy self-esteem are more likely to both create dreams and pursue them intentionally. By believing in their ability to accomplish these ideas, they will be self-motivated to grow and take risks as they fully experience life.

In every way, a healthy sense of self-worth and self esteem is a necessary requirement to lead an empowered life marked by positive self-direction, trust, responsibility, and accomplishment.

Now on the flip side…

Low self-esteem is frequently associated with criminal activities, drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, violent behavior, eating disorders, and low socio-economic status. Those lacking self-esteem often display aggressive, egotistical, harmful, and defensive behavior along with an unwillingness to put themselves in another person’s shoes.

Healthy self-esteem goes far beyond possessing a good physical self-image. Too many confuse self-esteem with vanity, arrogance, or self-centeredness.

In fact, such qualities typically indicate a lack of healthy self-esteem.

From birth and continuing throughout our lifetimes, we encounter countless experiences that can either enhance our self-esteem or erode it.

It’s our jobs as parents to constantly help our children build healthy self-esteem because as our children go out into the “real” world at school, daycare, the playground, even watching TV and hanging out with friends, they’ll start to compare themselves to others, and if they don’t think they “measure up,” they’ll start to judge themselves as different and/or deficient in some way.

Then they’ll start giving themselves labels like lazy, stupid, fat, and dumb which further compounds their feelings of inadequacy. Before we know it, we actually start believing that we’re not good enough and aren’t worthy of love, abundance, and happiness.

The people who feel badly about themselves and have low self-esteem spend their entire lives trying to find something to finally make them feel better when the secret really lies within our own relationship with ourselves. How we feel about ourselves is one of the biggest keys to happiness, abundance, love, success, and all good things.

Self-esteem is developed over a lifetime, but the most critical years are from birth to eight years of age.

Children are being programmed like a computer during these years. And whatever is being programmed into their minds is how their computer will run for the majority of their lives.

Here’s a simple yet powerful exercise that you can do with your children often. Spend time with your children talking about all the ways they are good and worthy of love. List all the qualities that you enjoy about them. Then (depending on their ages) ask your children what they like or enjoy about themselves.

This will start the process of building high self-esteem. Don’t worry, the second half of this webinar will give you a lot more exercises that you can do with your children to help build self-esteem and much more.

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