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Self-Esteem - page header image


Self-Esteem - page header image



self-esteem self esteem children teenagers cary nc raleigh

Self-esteem plays a significant role in the development of healthy children and adolescents. A healthy sense of self can help children handle the inevitable challenges of growing up. Kids and teens with healthy self-esteem or sense of themselves,like themselves and are able to accurately identify their strengths and weaknesses. . As a result, they make better choices, are more resilient, and push harder to reach their goals. They’re more likely to be happy, successful, and emotionally healthy.

Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem

If you're concerned about your child's sense of self-esteem, watch for these patterns in their behavior. A child or teen with low self-esteem may:

  • Avoid a task or challenge without even trying. This often signals a fear of failure or a sense of helplessness.
  • Quit soon after beginning a game or a task, give up at the first sign of frustration.
  • Cheat or lie when they think they're going to lose a game or do poorly.
  • Show signs of regression, acting babylike or very silly. These types of behavior may invite teasing and name-calling from other kids, worsening the problem.
  • Become controlling, bossy or inflexible as ways of hiding feelings of inadequacy, frustration or powerlessness.
  • Make excuses ("The coach is dumb") or downplay the importance of events ("I don't really like that game anyway"). They may use this kind of rationalizing to place blame on others or external forces.
  • Have declining grades or less interest in usual activities.
  • Withdraw socially, losing or having less contact with friends.
  • Experience changing moods, sadness, crying, angry outbursts, frustration or quietness.
  • Make self-critical comments such as "I never do anything right," "Nobody likes me," or "Everyone is smarter than I am."
  • Have difficulty accepting either praise or criticism.
  • Become overly concerned or sensitive about other people's opinions of them.

Ways to support your child's self-esteem:

  • Spend time with your child. Find activities you can do together that will make them feel successful. Attend their athletic and extracurricular events. Show them that you are interested in them and what they accomplish.
  • Give choices and responsibilities. Allow your child to make decisions whenever possible and assume more responsibility in their life. Show your trust in them.
  • Use failure as an opportunity. Remind them that mistakes are a part of life, learn from it, and encourage them to try again.
  • Do not expose your child to, or confide in them, about adult topics or family and relationship tensions that will cause them stress.
  • Encourage your child to provide service to others through volunteer activities or charity work.
  • Teach your child to praise themselves. They should feel pride in her accomplishments. When you provide praise, make it specific and focus on effort, “You studied so hard for that test and look at your grade!”
  • Model confidence. Children learn a lot from observing others so it’s important you lead by example. Show your child how you put effort into your everyday activities and tasks, demonstrate a positive attitude (or at least refrain from grumbling!), and take pride in your accomplishments. Make sure you also pay attention to your own self-talk and speak positively about yourself.
  • Focus on their strengths/ interests. By paying attention to activities and interests your child enjoys, you can help them to build a sense of identity which can help them to boost their confidence.
  • Tell your child how much you love them— without any conditions or strings attached. Although parents' actions and efforts convey love indirectly, children also need to hear the words "I love you."

We Can Help with Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem can be a sign of a more concerning underlying problem such as anxiety, depression, or a learning disability. It’s important to not only focus on improving self-esteem, but also addressing underlying contributing factors. Your child or adolescent may benefit from individual therapy, a social skills or DBT group, or family therapy. Testing may also play a role in parsing out what is going on diagnostically.




Self-Esteem Resources & Articles

Self-Esteem Resources

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