If I didn't think self-esteem was important, I wouldn't have written a book about it. Within the matrix of concepts that explain psychological functioning, I believe self-esteem has a useful place. Important as it is, however, strong self-esteem is not everything.

For example, it is independent of morality. Strong self-esteem does not prevent wrong doing. People who feel extremely positive about who and how  they are can still become bullies, criminals, and even destructive zealots. Evil can claim strong self-esteem as easily as can good. Self-esteem is also independent of outcome. It does not assure accomplishment. People who feel confident about performing wellare still capable of misunderstandings, miscalculations, and mistakes. Strong self-esteem can lead a person into failure as well as to success...

As parents reflect on the esteem needs of their child, I hope they will also reflect upon their own, because everyone's self-esteem in the family matters. From my vantage point as a psychologist, it seems that people are more prone to act badly toward members of their family when they are feeling bad about themselves. The worse they feel, the worse they often treat others, the worse they get treated in return, the worse they end up feeling about themselves, the worse they treat others, and round and round the cycle of unhappiness goes.  In low-esteem families, relationships can become mutually destructive.

In high esteem families, however, the reverse seems likely to occur. The better that family members feel about themselves, the better they treat each other, the better they get treated in return, the better off everyone tends to become. They bring out the best in each other, not the worst.