Kids and Self-Esteem...
You can't touch it, but it affects how you feel. You can't see it, but it's there when you look at yourself in the mirror. You can't hear it, but it's there every time you talk about yourself. What is this important but mysterious thing? It's your self-esteem!
understand self-esteem, it helps to break the term into two words. Let's take a
look at the word esteem (say: ess-teem) first.
Esteem is a fancy word for thinking that someone or something is important or
valuing that person or thing. For example, if you really admire your friend's
dad because he volunteers at the fire department, it means you hold him in high
esteem. And the special trophy for the most valuable player on a team is often
called an esteemed trophy. This means the trophy stands for an important
self means, well, yourself! So put the two words together and
it's easier to see what self-esteem is. It's how much you value yourself and how
important you think you are. It's how you see yourself and how you feel about
isn't bragging about how great you are. It's more like quietly knowing that
you're worth a lot (priceless, in fact!). It's not about thinking you're perfect
— because nobody is — but knowing that you're worthy of being loved and
Self-Esteem Is Important
isn't like a cool pair of sneakers that you'd love to have but don't have to
have. A kid needs to have self-esteem. Good self-esteem is important because it
helps you to hold your head high and feel proud of yourself and what you can do.
It gives you the courage to try new things and the power to believe in yourself.
It lets you respect yourself, even when you make mistakes. And when you respect
yourself, adults and other kids usually respect you, too.
good self-esteem is also the ticket to making good choices about your mind and
body. If you think you're important, you'll be less likely to follow the crowd
if your friends are doing something dumb or dangerous. If you have good
self-esteem, you know that you're smart enough to make your own decisions. You
value your safety, your feelings, your health — your whole self! Good
self-esteem helps you know that every part of you is worth caring for and
Kids Get Self-Esteem
don't see themselves in a good or bad way. They don't think "I'm
great!" when they let out a big burp or worry "Oh,
no, this diaper makes my legs look weird!" Instead, people around a baby
help him or her develop self-esteem. How? By encouraging the baby when he or she
learns to crawl, walk, or talk. They often say, "Good job. Good for
you!" When people take good care of a baby, that also helps him or her feel
lovable and valuable.
kids gets older, they can have a bigger role in developing their self-esteem.
Achievements — like getting a good grade on a test or making the All-Star
soccer team — are things kids can be proud of. So are having a good sense of
humor or being a good friend.
kid's family and other people in his or her life — like coaches, teammates,
and classmates — also can boost his or her self-esteem. They can help a kid
figure out how to do things or notice his or her good qualities. They can
believe in the kid and encourage him or her to try again when something doesn't
go right the first time. It's all part of kids learning to see themselves in a
positive way, to feel proud of what they've done, and to be confident that
there's a lot more they can do.
Little on Low Self-Esteem
you know kids with low self-esteem who don't think very highly of themselves or
seem to criticize themselves too much. Or maybe you have low self-esteem and
don't always feel very good about yourself or think you're important.
a kid will have low self-esteem if his mother or father doesn't encourage him
enough or if there is a lot of yelling at home. Other times, a kid's self-esteem
can be hurt in the classroom. A teacher may make a kid feel dumb or perhaps
there is a bully who says hurtful things.
some kids, classes at school can seem so hard that they
can't keep up or get the grades they'd hoped for. This can make them feel bad
about themselves and hurt their self-esteem. Their self-esteem will improve when
a teacher, tutor, or counselor encourages them, is patient, and helps them get
back on track with learning. When they start to do well, their self-esteem will
some kids have good self-esteem but then something happens to change that. For
If a kid moves and doesn't make friends right
away at the new school, he or she might start to feel bad.
Kids whose parents divorce also may find that
this can affect self-esteem. They may feel unlovable or to blame for the
A kid who feels too fat or too thin may start thinking that means
he or she isn't good enough.
Even going through the body changes of puberty
— something that everybody does — can affect a kid's self-esteem.
course it's OK to have ups and downs in your feelings, but having low
self-esteem isn't OK. Feeling like you're not important can make you sad and can
keep you from trying new things. It can keep you from making friends or hurt how
you do at school.
strong self-esteem is also a very big part of growing up. As you get older and
face tough decisions — especially under peer pressure — the more self-esteem
you have, the better. It's important to know you're worth a lot.
you think you might have low self-esteem, try talking to an adult you trust
about it. He or she may be able to help you come up with some good ideas for
building your self-esteem.
the meantime, here are a few things that you can try to increase your
Make a list of the stuff you're good at. It can
be anything from drawing or singing to playing a sport or telling a good joke.
If you're having trouble with your list, ask your mom or dad to help you with
it. Then add a few things to the list that you'd like to be good at. Your mom or
dad can help you plan a way to work on those skills or talents.
Give yourself three compliments every day. Don't
just say, "I'm so great." Be specific about something good about
yourself, like, "I was a good friend to Jill today" or "I did
better on that test than I thought I would." While you're at it, before you
go to bed every night, list three things in your day that really made you happy.
Remember that your body is your own, no matter what shape,
size, or color it is. If you are worried about your weight or size, you
can check with your doctor to make sure that things are OK. Remind yourself of
things about your body that are cool, like, "My legs are strong and I can
skate really well."
Remember that there are things about yourself you can't
change. You should accept and love these things — such as skin color
and shoe size — because they are part of you.
When you hear negative comments in your head, tell
yourself to stop. When you do this, you take the power away from the
voice inside that discourages you.