Tackling Low Self-Esteem in Children

By in Parenting on 18 May 2010

It is heartbreaking to see a child you love with low or no self-esteem. It’s important to start tackling low self-esteem in children as soon as you recognize it. If you can solve this problem before it becomes too entrenched in their personality, they will be able to thrive.

Our self-esteem is basically how we feel about ourselves in relation to those around us. It is our ability to determine our own worth. Unfortunately, some children’s self-esteem is damaged and they don’t feel very good about themselves.

No parent or loved one of a child wants the child to suffer from low self-esteem. In many cases they’re not even sure what caused it. Children can develop self-esteem issues because they’re overweight or very tall for their age and children in school make fun of them.

The media may also be a culprit for a child’s lack of self-esteem. They don’t look like their friends or actors and actresses on television, so they think something is wrong with them. Adults may also expect too much of children. Perhaps the child doesn’t make the grades their parents or siblings made, so they feel pressured to do better and then feel bad when they fail.

How do you recognize children with low self-esteem? They may brag, boast or lie about things to make themselves feel better. They may blame others for something they’ve done wrong or for not completing work they were asked to do. Another thing children with self-esteem problems sometimes do is bully other children or act out in anger. It’s likely they’re also hesitant to try new things.

Once you’ve determined your child lacks confidence, how do you go about tackling their low self-esteem? Here are some ideas you may want to try.

  • Find positive role models for your children. These could be a person who embodies being friendly and is positive, eager to reach for the future, respectful, and is able to meet challenges head on. These role models may come from real people or fictional characters in books.
  • Help your child realize their self-beliefs aren’t true. They can succeed, they do have qualities which are admirable, and they are an important part of your family.
  • Be sure your children know they are loved. You can tell them “I love you” in more ways than verbally. Give them a pat on the back, take an active role in things which are important to them like sports or scouting, or be their biggest cheerleader whatever activity they choose.
  • If at all possible, keep your family intact. It has been proven that children from broken homes often have worse self-esteem than those with an absent parent. Take available opportunities to do things as a family. Let your child see you and your partner being affectionate and enjoying the opportunity to be together.
  • Spend one-on-one time with your child. Plan a “date” with your child once or twice a month. This will demonstrate to them how important they are. Quality time is one gift your child will look forward to.
  • Talk to your child and really listen to what they have to say. Help them explain what they’re feeling. If appropriate, relate a similar story from your own life.

No parent wants their child to feel bad about themselves; however, it can happen. Tackling low self-esteem in children is important so they can excel in life rather than struggle. Use some of the ideas above and you may be able to help your child’s self-esteem improve.


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