Low Self-esteem in children

How many times have you heard your child protest in anger, frustration, and sometimes even in tears: “I’m a failure, I’m ruined, I never succeed?” How many times did your daughter decide to forego a party or avoided going out with her friends since she feels “fat, rejected, having no friends who really want her company”?

As parents, it is very difficult for us to hear our children talk about themselves in such a way, to see them treat themselves as if they do not count when their self-esteem is low and their belief in their abilities deteriorates as they grow and become more mature. Such exclamations from our children usually indicate that they have a low self-esteem problem, which is characterized by low self-esteem, and a lack of belief in themselves and in their personal ability to succeed to thrive socially and academically.

How can we identify that our children have low self-esteem?

As parents we can identify indicators of low self-esteem in our children by a direct statement they utter regarding their failure, disappointment, and inability to cope and perform tasks. Beyond these statements, our children’s conduct may signal that they have a self-esteem problem in the following ways:

  • Aggression/aggressiveness- can be expressed as using physical force on those around the child (friends, family) or as verbal aggression, an aggressive way of speaking that is riddled with swearing and sarcasm, all meant to conceal the feeling that they lack confidence and their sensitivity.
  • Failing to perform assignments– children with low self-esteem tend to postpone performing challenging assignments, and they sometimes use manipulations and make excuses in order not to cope with assignments that they are likely to fail.
  • Ignoring the problem to the point of denial– children who have problems understanding the academic material and claim repeatedly that they do not have a problem, they just don’t like this topic and therefore they don’t succeed in learning it. This is very typical of children who have a learning disability or an attention disorder.
  • A bossy attitude– children with low self-esteem tend to develop bossy behavior towards those around them.
  • Playing ‘the clown’– children with low self-esteem wish to hide their lack of confidence and they win their friends’ sympathy by acting silly and being funny.
  • Introversion– lack of confidence and low self-esteem sometimes make our children introverts, this withdrawal affects their place in society and their independence.
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