Building your child’s self-esteem is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. A child with a healthy self esteem is less likely to succumb to peer pressure and more likely to set and accomplish goals. Children with a healthy self-esteem tend to have healthier relationships and are more capable of facing challenges that will only strengthen them.

Children aren’t born with high self-esteem, so parents have to give their children positive life experiences in order to help shape it. Use the following tips below to give your child the key ingredient for obtaining social and academic success.

Spend time with your child

Nothing says “I love you” and “You are special” more than spending quality time. Whether it’s watching a movie on Saturday night or walking through the park on Sunday morning, think about ways you can share your children’s life with them, and look forward to doing it. Pencil your mother-daughter date in your planner for them to see, or write it on the family calendar and draw an exclamation point beside it. Your child will feel good that you feel good about hanging out with them and, as a result, they will know their presence is valuable.

Avoid comparing

We are all unique individuals with our own strengths and talents. This is the point that we need to express to our children. Avoid comparing your children to others. For example, don’t tell them that since their older brother won the science fair, they should win, too. Or, if their younger sibling writes neatly, they should be able to write neatly as well. Encourage your child to do well because you know they are capable of it, not because someone else already is.

Teach them to overcome obstacles

Don’t just point out your child’s strengths. Help your child strengthen his or her weaknesses. Teaching your child how to overcome difficulties that impede their goals promotes self-esteem. If, for instance, your child fails a test, don’t just tell them they will do better next time. Help them study. Your self-esteem is often tested when you face situations that do not utilize your strengths. In these situations, it is critically important that children cling to their self-esteem in order to overcome the obstacles.

Watch your mouth

Making comments like “I’m tired of you,” or “You get on my nerves,” albeit true at the moment, are damaging to a child’s self-esteem. It makes them feel intolerable and incapable of being loved. When your child frustrates you, send them to another room and calm down. Then talk to them about their inappropriate actions. If you do slip up and make a negative comment, be sure to converse with them afterward, and tell them the comments you made were spoken out of frustration. Your empathy will pay off, and your child’s attitude toward himself will improve because of it.

Help them choose supportive friends

Encourage your child to pick their friends carefully. Keep your children around positive people who support their accomplishments and ambitions. If your son seeks to be on the National Honor Society, keep them away from friends who think that the honor’s society is for nerds. If your daughter strives to abstain from sex, dissuade them from hanging out with girls who have relaxed views about promiscuity. Although you cannot always choose your children’s friends, expose them to people who share their interests and let them select their “BFFs” from these people.

Finally, allow your child to see how healthy your self-esteem is. Accept and give compliments. Refuse to engage in unhealthy relationships. Participate in activities that are meant to heal, not harm, you. Teach your child how to love himself by example. Then sit back and see how much their own self-esteem rises.