Parenting K-6 Kids/7-year old with low self-confidence issues
Hello Dr Swaby,
I am a parent of a 7-year old girl and seek your advice regarding her self-confidence issues. My daughter is a quite creative for her age (at least I believe so) and mingles well with kids of her age. She loves helping people and is a real giver. She shares her toys with other kids and even in fact has no qualms about giving her toys away. To the extent that I sometimes feel other kids are taking advantage of her. Standing in line for the school bus, I see her giving way to others and slowly drifting towards the end of the line. I fear her becoming a push-over. I feel that this might lead to her being bullied and worries me.
Of late, she also complains that she cannot sing like the other kids, or paint like the other kids or be like the other kids. I am not sure why she feels so. Her cousin (of similar age) visited us recently and I might have praised her in front of my daughter, but after realizing how it could impact my kid, I stopped. Maybe she picked from this. I do praise my daughter whenever possible and try to encourage her. When I see her giving away her toys or her place in line, I talk to her afterwards so she doesn't do so henceforth. But it is always the same. May be she doesn't understand why I push her so, but as a parent it has me concerned about her self-confidence and self-esteem. Am I wrong in being worried? What can I do to help her build self-confidence?
Appreciate your help with this situation.
Thanks and kind regards
Thank you so much for writing. I can understand your concern. Have you asked your daughter why she allows others to get in front of her at the bus stop and why she gives away her toys? Her response may give you a clue. Something else you may do Shareef, is to encourage your daughter a little more. Whenever you encourage a child you will see more growth in that area, (Example if you want him/her to be more responsible cooperative,and courageous) encourage them in that area. In order to build a child's self-esteem, courage, and character, we first have to find out some common ways we may be:
1. Discouraging.... By being overprotection and pampering, Focusing on mistakes, Expecting to little or expecting to much (Perfection)
2.Encouraging.... Stimulating Independence, Building on strengths, Showing confidence, Valuing the child as is.
Shareef she is only 7 years old. She is still trying to discover how everything and everyone works. I believe that you are looking at her situation as an adult.( I know, I know.. "That's my baby":) She may learn on her own as she get a little older that she cannot always give away her toys or allow other to go ahead why she is behind. "She will learn this."
As for her not feeling that she is like the other children, help her to understand that there is no one person that can do everything. "Then remind her of what she is good at." Shareef, Please do not stop praising others in front of your daughter. She is going to experience that in school and in society as well. Just remember to praise her in front of others as well.
I believe you are a wonderful parent thank you for caring. I hope my response is helpful. If you have more questions please feel free to write again.