Self-Esteem and Children
Self-Esteem: Children and How It Effects Them
Self-esteem is how people perceive themselves in the world. Some children see themselves in a positive way and therefore have high self-esteem. Others may look at themselves and neither like or dislike themselves, this may be middle self-esteem. Children with low self-esteem generally do not like themselves and feel that others do not like them as well.
Self-esteem varies on a day to day basis in everyone’s life. In the life of a child it may vary a lot on a day to day basis. A child may have high self-esteem when complimented, and within the day may have low self-esteem when someone says something negative. Self-esteem is effected by many factors.
Generally if a child has high self-esteem they will walk around with confidence and feeling good about themselves. Factors that cause someone to have high self-esteem include compliments on the child’s good behavior, being told the child is worthwhile by adults especially parents, when children are shown love regularly, listening and being there for the child, letting a child know it is okay to make mistakes here and there. When the negative is not constantly pointed out a child can grow to think well of themselves. Also understanding that each child has different needs and being able to find something that children with different needs can do to boost their belief in themselves.
If a child has poor self-esteem they will walk around feeling bad about themselves and may act in a negative manner in hopes to feel better about themselves. Some children with low self-esteem have mental health problems like Depression and end up thinking about suicide. As a Social Worker at a mental health hospital, I often taught children to link self-esteem with how they feel and the children came up with ways to raise their self-esteem if they identified it to be low. Some reasons for low self-esteem include when a child is constantly picked on for doing something wrong or behaving in a negative fashion, when children are called mean names that hurt their feelings and make them feel they are not worthy of positive affection, and sometimes abuse of a child can cause the child to look at themselves poorly.
If a child has negative self-esteem the parents need to take steps to help the child achieve high self-esteem. The parents may talk to the youth about what self-esteem is and how it affects day to day life. The youth if old enough can discuss what they feel is causing them to have low self-esteem. The parents might be at fault and need to be open to changing negative behaviors like name calling and constant criticism of a child. The parents may need to rethink their anger when the child does not do what they wanted them to do. They may need to take time to understand their child’s individual needs and how they can better parent/ coach the child. If none of this works it might be time to get family or individual counseling to work on issues that are causing low self-esteem.