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Parenting Articles about Self Esteem

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Low Self-esteem in Kids Part II: 3 Ways to Help Your Child Now

Low Self-esteem in Kids Part II: 3 Ways to Help Your Child Now

When a child has low self-esteem, many parents search endlessly for ways to make them feel better about themselves. They compliment their child for minor accomplishments or lower the standards to make them feel better, and nothing changes. They want to fix the problem now, when in reality, they should be coaching their child on how they can overcome their issues on their own.

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Low Self-Esteem in Kids, Part I: Forget What You've Heard—It's a Myth

Low Self-Esteem in Kids, Part I: Forget What You've Heard—It's a Myth

Is your child struggling with low self-esteem? As a parent, it’s tough to stand by and see our children feeling like they don’t “measure up” or can’t handle things as well as their peers seem to do. Here, James Lehman, MSW debunks the myth of focusing on children’s feelings at the expense of teaching them how to master life-skills. Part I of a two-part series on “Self-Esteem and Kids.”

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What If That Challenging Child Behavior Is Also a Strength?

Blogger What if your child’s bossiness or argumentativeness or the energy she has the moment she jumps out of bed is actually a strength that she was born with? What if she simply has not had the life experience to develop and maximize its potential? What if, as you are trying to tame the bossiness, to make the persistence more flexible or to rein in the energy, you might be overlooking your child's natural born strength? What if there were successful strategies you could implement that would support the mastery of your child’s strength as well as integrate brain functions and bring greater harmony to your family? Everyone shows up on this planet with a unique set of strengths. There are 24 signature strengths that fall into 6 categories – Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Transcendence, Wisdom and Knowledge.  (You can find out what your signature strengths are by going to University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology website and taking the VIA Survey. Click on Questionnaires.) Some children are born with an abundance of several strengths. A lot of kindness as a signature strength will probably not cause your child to have challenging behaviors. He will like doing favors, good deeds and helping others. A child with lots of leadership or persistence strengths will often behave in ways that are challenging for parents. A child with leadership strength wants to take the lead to encourage and support a group to meet a goal. A child with persistence as a strength will want to finish what they start and rarely lets things get in her/his way. A child who has an immature leadership strength could act in argumentative or defiant ways when their strength is not recognized and supported. A child who has an immature strength of persistence might lie or argue so s/he can continue to pursue the goals s/he is focused on. These children have not had the life experiences that will help them develop the skills necessary to use their strengths effectively. I recently explored these questions with a group of parents. A Dad of a 7-year-old boy said “I feel like I’m in a game show: every thing is about making a deal and he never gives up! He will even resort to lying to have things go his way. ” A Mom of a 4-year-old girl commented that her daughter does that too, but instead of lying she will be downright defiant. Another Mom of a 6-year-old boy said, “My son wants to do everything I do. Yesterday he came to me all excited showing me my checkbook saying he had paid all my bills. There were crayon marks all over the checks!  I invited these parents to look at their child’s behavior through a different lens. I described the behaviors they were describing as strengths – bossiness is leadership, pushiness is persistence, and energy is zest. The Mom of the 6-year-old boy said, “Zest really describes him to a tee; he’s excited and interested in everything!”  The Dad of the 7-year-old said, “My son has leadership and persistence and he thinks he is smarter than me. What do I do about that?” So let’s take a closer look. A person who has learned how to optimize their strength of persistence will finish what they start. Rarely do obstacles prevent them from achieving their goal. They take pleasure in completing tasks. A child who is born with this strength might look like s/he always want to get her/his way, will not stop asking for what s/he wants, will point out all the reason why s/he should get or do what s/he wants and may even lie. Parents often talk about being worn down. A person with the strength of leadership is someone who builds good relationships and is able to encourage and support a group to meet a goal. They are able to organize and make things happen. A child with this strength often wants to be first, will tell other children what to do, and seems to always have to win. A person with zest approaches life with excitement and energy; for them, life is an adventure that they embrace whole-heartedly. A child with zest is active from the moment her/his feet hit the floor in the morning and s/he doesn’t stop until they have fallen asleep. They are interested in and want to do everything that can make them seem unfocused and mischievous. Every child is born with a unique set of strengths and talents. To support our children with maximizing their potential, we need to be able to recognize their strengths and talents and help them develop and mature their capabilities. This is often easier said than done. Often, a strength that is underdeveloped can be misunderstood as a challenging behavior. When a child’s budding strength is seen as defiance or hyperactivity that needs to be changed, it can easily create frustration for a parent and child. As parents, we want our children to develop into healthy adults who have meaningful lives. We support this development when we take the time to notice what our children are doing well and build upon it. As human beings, we all want our unique gifts and talents to be recognized and valued. When we are using our strengths to engage in meaningful activities we tend to feel a sense of accomplishment, which then influences positive emotions. This carries over into supporting positive relationships. These elements, positive emotions, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishments are the building blocks to maximizing our potential and building a meaningful life. Torrey Harrison is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She did her graduate work at Smith College School of Social Work.  She has over 20 years of experiences providing mental health services to children, youth, and adults. An area of expertise is in training direct care workers to provide in-home mental health interventions to children with emotional and behavioral challenges. She has presented workshops to parents, early care and education providers on Understanding Kids Challenging Behaviors, Positive Parenting, Infant Mental and ADHD. Torrey also taught class in Positive Psychology for an adult education program.
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The Narcissistic Generation? More U.S. College Students Say They're Superior

Blogger An annual survey of college freshman in the U.S. has found that the number of students who define themselves as gifted and ambitious has grown yet again. Those who say they have a strong desire to achieve has also risen, even when their past grade performance does not reflect this self-assessment.
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Kids and Competitive Sports: Too Much Pressure?

Parent Blogger A child playing any sport that includes uniforms, umpires, coaches, players and parents will often sense an intense need that they succeed from the adults around them. That intense pressure contains all the elements that can cause eventual failure.
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Disturbing Pre-teen Trend: Am I Ugly? Videos on Youtube

Blogger If there's someone out there who didn't go through extreme angst over their looks during their middle school years, I'd like to meet them. Somehow, we all got through it and learned to accept ourselves for who we were. (It's an ongoing process, after all, but I have to admit that I wouldn't go back to those pre-teen years for anything.) The difference between us and our kids: we didn't have the internet and social networking to contend with.
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Child Self-esteem: How We Put Our Stuff on Our Children

Blogger Just because people become parents doesn't mean they don't have issues, concerns or negative habits. As individuals who may not have “worked through” past issues, it's easy for parents to put their “stuff” on their children. Many parents make the mistake of living through their children -- and we often don't even realize when we're doing it! But it's important to understand that pushing a child to do things for the wrong reasons isn't good for their development and can result in low self esteem and exhaustion. When we haven’t worked through our stuff we can put things on our children like:
  • Weight issues
  • Control issues
  • Insecurities
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Effects of bad relationships and/or choices
  • Concerns within our own personal, academic, professional and financial achievement
  • Childhood hurts and feelings
Children can respond to these things being put on them by developing;
  • Low self-esteem
  • Complexes over weight, stature/build, skin color, eye color
  • Concerns about their intelligence, ability/capability,
  • Issues with building relationships (dating), friendships
  • Anger issues
  • Demotivating habits
  • And many other concerns
If you think you might be pushing your child toward acting a certain way -- participating in activities that they really have no interest in, for example, or achieving things that are more about you than they are about them -- try watching your own triggers and intentions. Ask yourself, Is this what my child wants, or is this really more about me? And,  Is this really the best thing for my child right now? What's the answer here? I believe parenting needs to be deliberate. We have to make a choice to raise our children with confidence and try our best to watch what we're saying and doing so our kids don't inherit our stuff. Kumari V. Ghafoor-Davis, MSW has worked for more than 16 years in social services serving children and families in crisis. She fosters family cohesiveness through workshops and training on various topics through her organization and website, Optimistic Expectations, and also writes a weekly parenting blog. Her book, Real Talk: Ten Parenting Strategies to Raising Confident, Successful Children, is based on her professional and personal experiences.
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The Unwritten Social Rules for Girls: Compliments, Comparing and Self-Esteem

Parent Blogger Why, I would like to know, do we teach our teen daughters to be demure and to minimize compliments? When did we make a collective decision to teach them about the unwritten social rule that they must never admit to liking their bodies? When did we decide to teach them to hide their good grades so they are not seen as too smart, too aggressive, bragging, or too competitive? Why, if they have a blemish, do they need to point it out to their friends immediately?
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Child Self-esteem: How Much Is Praise Worth?

Blogger Want to improve your child’s self-esteem? Praise him constantly and stop anything that may hurt his perception of being a competent, achieving person. With every success, your child will see that he is a winner and will continue to achieve. Sounds like good advice doesn’t it? Well, it is terribly misguided.
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Kids and Self-Esteem: How to Help Them Grow a Thicker Skin

Parent Blogger How do we teach our kids to develop some tough skin to weather the never-ending schoolyard gossip and drama? It starts so young these days -- much earlier than I remember. Our kids come home fragile and in tears, basing their happiness on these fickle, yet pivotal interactions. I see it more with my girls. (My boys are perhaps still too immature to care, although I believe boys and girls are wired differently.)
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Rewards Might Work Like Medication for Kids with ADHD

Blogger Interestingly, a new study conducted at Nottingham University in the UK found that immediate rewards in the form of points in a video game had a similar effect on brain activity in kids with ADHD as stimulant medication does.  Based on EEG results, the team found that both the rewards and the child’s usual dose of stimulant medication resulted in the normalization of brain regions and improved task completion, though the medication yielded a slightly higher effect.
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