All of us were born with different personalities. Some of us are naturally shy while others are more outgoing, loud and blunt. It’s our differences that make us unique and stand out from one another.
You’ll also notice that your children behave differently from each other in social situations. It may appear easier for one to make friends while the other one takes more time to trust and build friendships. Some kids find it easy to talk in front of others while others are more comfortable in one-on-one settings. Again, this all boils down to differences in personalities and parents should be judgment-free in how their child exhibits their personality.
However, there are instances when a child is suffering from low self-esteem which causes them to shut others out, to remain quiet and to make a comfortable bubble around them in which they isolate themselves.
Some signs if your child is suffering from low self-esteem:
- They have a negative image of themselves
- They feel lonely and isolated
- They are negative about themselves and make statements like “I’m stupid” or “I hate myself”
- They are not proud of themselves
- They avoid new things and are afraid of failure
There could be many reasons why a child feels low self-esteem such as bullying, family problems, abuse, lower mental ability than their peers, social media, etc.
However, having low self-esteem is not something permanent and can be improved over time with the help and support of caring families.
How can you help your child become more confident?
- Help your child set goals. Talk to your children about goals and how to achieve them. It can be as simple as improving their handwriting or making their bed properly. Try to inculcate the concept of a ‘growth mindset’ in your children so they know that even if they can’t achieve something in the present, they will be able to do it in the future if they keep trying to achieve their goals.
- Let them know their opinions matter. Many times, children stop sharing their feelings or opinions when they think their parents don’t value what they have to say. Make it a habit to listen attentively to what your children are saying and ask them for their opinions on different matters. Ask them about their food choices, what they’d like to wear or which toy they would purchase. Let them know that their input is appreciated and valued.
- Give praise. You don’t want to overly praise your child but you should always encourage positive behaviour and actions. Rather than saying “you’re such a good boy”, you can say “Wow, you’ve really cleaned the counter well.” They should be aware of what action they are being praised for.
- Stop complaining and pointing out errors. Kids make mistakes just like adults. That’s how they learn so rather than scolding them or being irritated when they make mistakes, be calm and respectful to them and let them know that it is normal. If you constantly react negatively when your child makes a mistake, chances are that they will stop trying new things and will feel less confident in their abilities.
- Help them develop and discover their talents and interests. Every child is good at something and even if they are just novices right now, they will eventually become better at their craft. Let your children explore different interests so they can take pride in themselves and their capabilities. It could be anything like running, reading, cleaning up, singing, drawing and the possibilities of what they can do are endless.
Remember, confidence is not something that is permanent. It can waver up and down for all of us but as parents, we can help notice the signs when our kids are feeling low about themselves and help them feel confident again.
Be sure to try these five ways and let us know if they helped you.
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About the Founder
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.