Kids Hit By Low Self-Esteem Bug: Will Your Child Be Next?
By Donovan Grant
"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." ~ Judy Garland
Many of our kids are struggling with self-esteem problems. Being a youth in today's society has many challenges that people are afraid to talk about. It’s like that their self esteem will take a beating. Imagine if your son or daughter was constantly being knocked down with nasty comments such as, “your fat”, “your ugly” or “'nobody likes you, loser”. Not nice at all!
What are some signs you would spot if your child were having the problem?
- They may make lots of negative statements about themselves
- They have challenges coping with failure or defeat
- They avoid doing things that they normally love doing
- They may fall out with friends often
- They have no interest in trying something new.
The thing is- the way children think about themselves is a big indicator to child self esteem. If we think that we are great and love our self, then we score pretty high. When we think poorly of ourselves, then our score will be low!
What sort of opinion does your child have of themselves?
In the pre-teen and teenage years a lot of time gets taken up thinking “what do people think of me” or “how do I look in this” or “do I look good”. It’s quite a natural instinct for our youngsters to be dictated by outside influences rather than themselves.
A 16 year old boy who attended our Secrets Of A Superstar Teenager workshop recently shared this “Before attending the workshops I was less confident about myself and when I was in a bad mood or called names I would stay negative for the whole day.”
In some respects part of it is a child’s natural personality and part is the environment that the child is mostly brought up in. Parents cannot dictate a child’s personality. Their personality will grow on them based on certain traits that they tend to acquire and do. What parents can do is to create an environment where children are able to grow and thrive while learning about their emotional intelligence.
Why is it like this?
Looking good is all around us. TV, film, newspapers and magazines all contain images of beauty and perfection to entice our young people. This is ok to an extent, but when our children start measuring up against ‘perfect people’ and feeling insecure, it becomes a problem. I would highly recommend that you don’t leave until later…
Try a few self-esteem boosters instead
1. Building child self esteem takes time and to be quite honest, many adults go through life with the same tough challenges. This is why taking time out to talk to our children about looking good and feeling good are part of the practices that we need to do from an early age, regularly. Pointing out suitable pictures in magazines and asking our children what it means to them and how it makes them feel. These conversations will help a childand boost child self esteem.
2. When our children put themselves down, it would be unfair to turn a blind eye or just say “don’t worry it will be ok”. This moment is an opportunity to find out more and in turn build the child up. Asking questions like “what makes you think that way” or “what is another way of looking at this” are a great way to face unresourceful thinking. This will enable them to think beyond what we see on the outside.
3. Another excellent idea is to get your child to write a few sentences in a notebook everyday. If they can get into the habit of thinking of three things that they did well that day, no matter how small, it’s amazing what it will do for them. To make it fun you can do it with them and say that you will share with each other every day!
The development of the child is important. We know that young people will always follow fashion and fashion is ever changing. We have to allow our youth to acknowledge fashion and at the same time teach them to respect themselves first and foremost. It's time to help a child.
When our young people begin to actively take more care about how they feel, it can be a good boost to their self esteem. Be the best parent that you can be and help a child to look good from the inside out.
Luckily Tarek, the 16 year old we mentioned earlier is back on track “As a result of mentoring classes I am now able to motivate myself to do better and put a smile on my face when I am angry.”
Let’s go kick that low self-esteem bug together and put the development of the child on top of the agenda.
I believe in you and your dreams.
Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations. He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com