Part of being a child is having the confidence to explore, discover and play. To do this, it is very important for children to feel a sense of worth and belonging in the family. Environmental settings and social situations are a huge factor for children with low confidence.
Causes of low self esteem
Child psychologists often find that low self esteem arises from things like bullying, harassment, or poor performance at school, sport or in other areas. When children experience such events, they can begin to question their worth and lose confidence.
Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence are often associated with other psychological difficulties, too. They can be factors in stress-related conditions, and features of low self-esteem can also be exhibited if a child is experiencing depression.
Some links have even been drawn between technology addiction in children and adolescents and low self-esteem.
How to improve a child’s self esteem
It is crucial to remember, though, that there are some steps you can take to boost your child’s confidence and have them feeling happier, more confident and more loved. If low self-esteem is causing major problems for your child at home, school or in social settings and you are concerned about his or her well-being, find a child psychologist whom you feel comfortable with and discuss your child’s difficulties.
In the meantime, take a look at these simple tips and parenting strategies for improving a child’s confidence:
- Identify your child’s strengths, including what they are good at and what they like to do, and offer praise when they do these activities well.
- Let your child know that you are proud when he or she makes an effort in something they find difficult or are nervous about.
- Give them advice on coping with specific situations they find difficult. Role play can be useful for practising new social skills.
- It helps to show children that their doubts are normal and do not need to stop them from doing things that are important to them. If they raise concerns, listen intently and let them know that you understand. Reassure them that everyone feels nervous sometimes.
- Avoid assigning them labels like “shy”, “scared” and “timid”.
- Avoid using dismissive language like “don’t be silly” or “you’re not shy, are you?”
- Be a role model. Children pick up on the way you act and the things you say. Show your child that you practise confidence and self-worth by openly taking pride in your achievements and avoiding self-criticism.
- Be extra affectionate, giving lots of cuddles after school or sport.
- Read or tell stories together where characters display courage and bravery.
- Make strength cards and have everyone in the family choose a card to describe each other’s strengths (e.g. “I am brave”, “I am a good listener”), then discuss your choices.
Low self-confidence does not have to get in the way of a child’s ability to do what is important to them and what makes them happier. If you think your child’s lack of confidence is cause for concern, contact Strategic Psychology’s child psychologists in Canberra today. We help children and families manage a range of issues, including low self-esteem. Call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online to start working towards a happier life today.