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Blog Details - Self Esteem

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10 Jan

The only thing that matters in life, is your own opinion about yourself." - Osho

As a parent, have you ever felt frustrated and miserable seeing your child being bullied or being a bully? Have parent-teacher meetings become a scary place? Do you feel like pulling your hair out because your child is cheating in games or exams? Tantrums, quarrels and fights have become the new normal? Low confidence, preoccupation with mistakes, avoiding tasks—does this sound like your child?

Feeling totally helpless when you see your child lose confidence is difficult. If this is you, we have got your back! Such behaviour is commonly misunderstood as a simple tantrum or bad attitude. However, in reality, it can be due to low self-esteem! Low self-esteem has many consequences for a child's development, and YES! It can have a lifelong impact!! Children with low self-esteem may struggle to form friendships, feel lonely and isolated, are often frustrated and display a bad temper.

In this blog, you will understand how to identify if your child has low self-esteem, how to help overcome it and the consequences if low self-esteem is not looked into.

What is self-esteem and what builds it?

Self-esteem can be defined as one's sense of worth or how we value and perceive ourselves. Self-esteem is an integral part of child development. For instance, a child with high self-esteem feels confident in completing the task provided to them. On the other hand, a child with low self-esteem tends to avoid tasks due to a lack of confidence. Some factors that cause low self-esteem are social environment, verbal and nonverbal messages from parents and parental figures like teachers, grandparents, school and family environment and the experiences the child goes through daily.

How to identify if your child has low self-esteem.

Some of the signs that children with low self-esteem display are as follows:

Unsurety: Children who have low self-esteem are unsure of themselves, their abilities, choices, decisions etc
Bully: they often resort to bullying to overcome their low self-esteem since it gives them some sense of validation and power that helps them survive.
Lack of initiative: Children with low self-esteem avoid taking the initiative not to feel overwhelmed, stupid, unworthy, incapable and guilty
Isolation: Tend to be or feel isolated, find it difficult to mingle easily.
May not express: Thoughts and feelings aren’t freely expressed or shared.
Lack of assertiveness: Children with low self-esteem find it difficult to say no, have clear boundaries and are not assertive with friends or family.

Such behaviours are not because they are doing it on purpose but more likely because they lack confidence. They would rather avoid taking any initiative than deal with the idea of failure. They may struggle to make friends and it fuels the low self-esteem and thus it becomes a cycle.

Consequences of having low self-esteem

• Social life is impacted or limited.
• General mental health is lower with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and increased susceptibility to substance use.
• Children with low esteem have difficulty adjusting to situations with poor personal boundaries. Poor boundaries do not allow these children to say NO to others, putting them at higher risk of succumbing to peer pressure.
• Performance in academics, sports, and work is hugely impacted, and successes are low in these areas.
• Communication issues make it difficult for the child to stand up for themselves and allows others to walk all over them or their boundaries.

Why Is Self-Esteem Important?

Trusting oneself and embracing oneself for who you are is crucial for success in all areas of life. Self-esteem is essential to living a fulfilling life, making healthy self-esteem very important. Benefits of healthy level of self-esteem are;

Confidence: It gives the child confidence in their capabilities and the strength to put these capabilities into action, ultimately leading to a successful life.
Creativity: Creativity: children with high self-esteem show increased creativity,
Improved mental health: Improved mental health: Children with high self-esteem have better tolerance to distressing situations, making them less vulnerable to mental health issues.
High performance: High performance: Healthy self-esteem also allows one to perform well in school or work.
Dealing with mistakes: Dealing with mistakes: Self-esteem assists children in dealing with mistakes. Even if they fail the first time, it encourages children to try again.
Motivation: Children are motivated to undertake new tasks, show resilience in the face of difficulties, and cope by trusting themselves. It encourages children to take chances, try new things, and learn from mistakes.

What actions can the parents take that can help the child?

There are numerous methods by which parents can assist their children in establishing self-esteem. Some of the steps are:

Secure and safe environment:This can be achieved by providing a stable, loving home and expressing unconditional love. Moreover, the environment of acceptance and understanding for our children through frequent praise (for qualities of the child as well as actions) and support from parents or other key people enhances children's self-esteem and pushes them to continue striving.
Physical touch: A physical touch can convey the message of being loved and boosts confidence as well as production of oxytocin. This can be in the form of hugs, handshakes and cuddles.
Boundary Setting: Accepting the child’s ‘no’ and providing the autonomy to hug someone or say hello only if they will to do so would help them create healthy boundaries, develop their thought process, and teach them that their opinion matters.
Age-appropriate tasks: Providing age-appropriate tasks gives them a sense of responsibility/capability and convey that parents trust them.
Listen patiently: Attending to them without interrupting shows them that we consider their thoughts valid, making them more open to receiving feedback.
Accept them for who they are: Accepting the child the way they are gives the child the message that they are loved and valued in the family. It teaches them they are good enough and that in turn helps them to be independent and self-sufficient.

If these measures don’t yield results, it is worthwhile seeking parenting coaching. Parenting coaching is a new thought process; it helps the parent identify a child's needs. It customises the approach based on the psychological and emotional needs of the family and the child. It offers an alternative perspective, teaches techniques to change behaviour, and helps parents fulfil their parenting goals. It includes instructions that give parents clear, specific guidelines to understand their child better.

“A child with a healthy dose of self-esteem has the best defense against life’s challenges”
– Ariadne Brill

Take your next step to build healthy self-esteem in your child. Act before it's too late!