We know self esteem is a person’s view of themselves or their worth. We also know a child’s view of their self worth can be increased or decreased by the way a parent speaks to them; the words they choose or tone they use. Sometimes a simple ‘look’ can show a parent’s disappointment in a child or their accomplishments.
But how does low self esteem show up in a child?
Low self esteem shows up in a child when…
• she doesn’t put forth as much effort into a school project.
• he may over-compensate on a school project because his best is not good enough.
• she steps back in class and lets another child have the sticker that everyone wants.
• another child takes his lunch away from him and he doesn’t try to get it back.
• she doesn’t ask permission to go to a child’s birthday party even though she wants to go.
• she doesn’t bathe or brush her teeth.
• he often says “nobody likes me.”
• she begins an eating disorder or self-injuring routine.
• he cannot make a decision because no matter what he decides, it will be wrong.
• she is raped and thinks she did something to deserve it.
• he thinks very negatively about everything: winning a prize, getting a good score on a test.
• she doesn’t trust her own opinion.
• he avoids any social situations.
• she is very anxious about many things.
• he goes out of his way to make or keep friends.
• she is powerless to stop others from taking her things or money.
• he is often sad and feels hopeless.
My husband loves analogies, in talking with him about low self esteem once I likened it to an injured deer in the forest. ANY animal in the wild that has been injured will probably suffer greatly and die much sooner than it should because it cannot forage as well AND the other animals can sense its helplessness and vulnerability.
Would you knowingly ‘injure’ your son or daughter so another child can mistreat or abuse them? No, I didn’t think you would. Think of your child carrying around a chicken’s egg with them everywhere. Hurtful words can weaken and chip away at the shell little by little till the egg cracks. You can also protect that egg and prevent its breaking by using words and language that strengthen and thicken the shell.
Clearly, children who have a healthy self esteem are happier and do better in school. They are equipped with most of the can-do ingredients for success in school and in life. The choice is yours.
denny hagel says
Excellent article with a powerful message! Parents are the window to the world for their children…the way they see themselves and the world around them is directly related to the information they get from their parents. Thanks for sharing this important topic!