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Low Self-Esteem In Kids: 5 Tips To Deal With It?

There is always a very thin line of difference between the child being an introvert and low self-esteem in kids. The very first step for parents is to identify the warning signs and signals of low self-esteem in the child. Then, measures be planned to effectively resolve the confidence issues and low self-esteem in kids.

Parenting is a constant learning journey with trials and errors. Amidst the growing up of kids, one common question that parents periodically worry about is the self-esteem of the kids. Some children have myriad confidence levels, freely express themselves and face all the challenges positively. However, if you find your child to be distressed, hesitant to face the world and keep self-isolated, you are reflecting on the low self-esteem in kids. 

There is always a very thin line of difference between the child being an introvert and low self-esteem in kids. 

The very first step for parents is to identify the warning signs and signals of low self-esteem in the child. Then, measures be planned to effectively resolve the confidence issues and low self-esteem in kids. 

Why is self-esteem important?

Self-esteem is the feeling of self-worth which begins to develop in early childhood and improves as the child grows further. Self-esteem becomes a pivotal factor which can influence all the nuances of life, like making any decision or motivation to attempt new things. A confident child is more likely to get encouraged to try his/her best for any goals and have the required self-belief to cope with any mistakes and to improve and overcome any weaknesses. 

Warning Signs of low self-esteem in kids:

  • Negative talk like “I am stupid”, “I am not capable”, “I look so ugly”
  • More sensitive about the opinion of others
  • Prefer to avoid social situations majority of times
  • Difficulty in accepting both appreciation and criticism
  • Unwilling to attempt new things with failure in the back of the mind
  • Frequently says, “I can’t”
  • Aggressive behaviour which breaks into emotional melt down
  • Constant feeling that they are not good enough
  • Difficulty in dealing with failure
  • Blaming people or events for failure like “the teacher is not good” or “the laptop is not working”
  • Drop in the performance in school activities
  • Take up negative behaviour like not going to school, increase in misbehaviour, smoking, drinking or binge eating.

How to help build your child’s self-esteem?

After comprehending the warning signs for low self-esteem in kids, it is crucial to focus on how to help them build their self-esteem. Here are some of the steps which the parents can consider:

  • Express love to them: It is very important for the kids to feel loved and valued and that they are important to the family. So, take time for them and shower them with affection and remind them that they are special. 
  • Keep a check on your harsh tone: While having a difficult conversation with the child, ensure that you use the correct words. Avoid phrases like “You are extremely lazy” or “You don’t study enough”. Such words can be very hurtful, and such labels can create a long-lasting impression and invoke the feelings of insecurity and worthlessness while growing into adulthood.
  • Leave the past behind: The children with low self-esteem will constantly think about the mistakes or things which have happened in the past. This ruminates their thought process with a loop of self-doubt and regret, which further lowers their self-esteem. 
  • Recite or Write Affirmations with them: With prevalent low self-esteem in kids, the practice of affirmations can help with the process of building confidence which will reprogram their thinking pattern. Select an appropriate affirmation which feels right and motivate them to repeat it or write it during different parts of the day. 

Some of the affirmations which can be used while dealing with low self-esteem in kids are:

  • I am important, valued and loved
  • I believe in myself
  • I am capable of doing my best
  • I am happy and confident
  • I love myself
  • I am strong and resilient. 
  • Encourage them to learn a new skill: Learning a new skill can increase the confidence of kids as they become independent in the process. Doing something new brings them excitement and boosts their mood and energy. When self-esteem is hampered, children find it very reluctant to try new activities reflecting their internal fear of making a fool of themselves. 

Parents should consider supporting the kids for trying new activities as it can be an ardent task in the beginning. However, as parents observe the child being competent with the skill, they can take a step back so the child feels confident and understands better about self. 

  • Include exercise or physical activity in the routine: Exercise has numerous benefits to the human body which can enhance the mood and help fight any negative thoughts or anxiety. Playing a sport or doing moderate physical exercise for 3-4 days a week can encourage them further and boost their mental well-being.
  • Change the approach to deal with mistakes: In several cases, the children with self-esteem issues want to strive hard and be perfectionists. It is important to give them assurance, iterating that it is completely normal to do wrong things once in a while and it is human to make mistakes.

In situations, when the child is going through harsh self-criticism, challenge them with how they would judge a close friend on conducting the same mistake – would they dislike the friend and consider him/her to be dumb and stupid person or understand them, feel empathy for them and support and encourage them to learn from the mistakes. 

Low self-esteem in kids issues are very challenging for both the parents and the children and need complete attention of the parents. It is time mental health triggers be addressed and resolved right from childhood. 

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Hetvi Vashi

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