All kids go through periods of low self-esteem, but many children suffer from chronic low self-esteem, which means that it never seems to go away. The reasons can be many, and might stem from the way their peers treat them in school or how they view themselves. Regardless, low self-esteem can be hazardous to a child’s social, emotional and mental development, and parents should step in when they notice their children are suffering from chronic low self-esteem.
Help Kids with Chronic Low Self-Esteem: Emphasize the Positive
If you haven’t told your child lately how proud you are of his math grades or how well she did in her last piano recital, now is a great time to start. Many children suffer from low self-esteem because they don’t recognize their positive qualities. A child who isn’t great in sports may excel in English class; everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Help your child to realize that no talent is better than another, and that you are proud of him or her for any accomplishments.
Help Kids with Chronic Low Self-Esteem: Encourage Hobbies
Often, pursuing a hobby can help build self-esteem better than words. It’s entirely possible that your child has no idea what he or she is capable of. Sign your child up for dance lessons, music classes, a chess team or photography classes. Let your child try a number of different things before he or she settles on one. The point is to get your child active in something that makes him feel good about himself. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby; many community activities are free or nearly free.
Help Kids with Chronic Low Self-Esteem: Encourage Friends Outside of School
When I was in high school, I had about two friends at school, and both of them were more acquaintances than anything else. The rest of my friends were found outside of school: church, the neighborhood, kids of my parents’ friends and so forth. Your child doesn’t have to find his or her friends among the population at school, and sometimes it’s better for children to have friends who don’t go to their school. But remember that your child doesn’t get to see his or her friends all day, every day, so give him or her time to see friends after school and on the weekends.
Help Kids with Chronic Low Self-Esteem: Be a Safety Net
I have always viewed my parents’ house and my grandparents’ houses as safety zones. When I walk through either one of their front doors, I suddenly feel like a kid again, certain that my family will take care of everything. Create that for your child. No matter how rotten things seem at school, make home a place where he or she wants to live. You should have rules and consequences for misbehavior, but you should also make time to have fun together. Go on trips, stay home and make dinner, rent videos on the weekends and find fun projects around the house.
Help Kids with Chronic Low Self-Esteem: Find Big Brother/Big Sister Programs
Often, a child with chronic self-esteem problems just needs an older role model to show him or her that life is not all about being accepted and being good at certain things. Parents are excellent role models, but kids expect to be accepted by their parents. Partner your child with a big brother or big sister through a local program so that he or she can feel connected. Gaining approval from a “Big Kid” can be rather rewarding.