School has begun and the boys are adjusting to their new lives with new teachers in one year ahead of last year. Sounds normal and assumed but given the increased demands we place on children, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the health of your child in terms of their confidence and what it means for their growth and development.
Confidence is always something that has concerned me as it’s something I’ve always struggled with. Outwardly I was able to wear the disguise of being confident while inside I felt inadequate and nervous.
I feel like as parents, we should be aware of the impact low self-esteem can have on our children and find ways to help bolster their confidence. This is not a boy-only issue but this post will be focused on confidence and boys.
According to the National Mental Health Information Center at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, children who have good self-esteem are more likely to act independently, handle both positive and negative emotions, assume responsibility and appropriately handle peer pressure.
According to a study conducted at Florida State University, “eleven year-old boys who displayed evidence of low self-esteem were more likely to be dependent upon drugs at age 20 than boys who didn’t have low self-esteem.”
“While it is already known that low self-esteem is correlated with drug use in adolescents, this study is important because it suggests that early, measurable factors (low self esteem and belief that their peers approve of drug use) can identify boys at future risk for drug dependence as early as age 11.”
According to a report in the January 2000 issue of Pediatrics, researchers found “Obese boys and girls have significantly lower self-esteem than their non-obese peers.”
What can parents do?
While signs of low self-esteem may vary from child to child, low self esteem is usually associated with situations in which the child thinks that they are likely to fail. Also, you may want to seek professional help if you feel you need assistance in helping your child.
- Look for opportunities to praise your children when they have done a good job or put forth a lot of effort, (According to the National Mental Health Information Center).
- Affection and spontaneity can help your son or daughter’s self-esteem, (according to KidsHealth).
- Laugh at yourself. show your children that it is OK to laugh at yourself shows the importance of a sense of humor (according to National Mental Health Information Center).
- Help your child re-think things in a positive way instead of focusing negative feelings on themselves (according to National Mental Health Information Center).
- Help your children take responsibility for their own problems by helping them think of other solutions and answer their questions but try to let them solve the problem – it will help with improving child’s confidence (according to National Mental Health Information Center).
Useful links if this topic interests you:
- Cognitive Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem
- Self-Esteem Screening Quiz
- Understanding Self-Esteem in Teenagers
- Low Self-Esteem in Kids
- Effects of Low Self-Esteem
- Quenqua, Douglas. “Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession.” The New York Times. Accessed September 10, 2014.
- Conrad Stoppler (MD) & Markis (MD). “Low Self-Esteem May Lead to Drug Abuse in Boys.” Medicine.net. Accessed September 10, 2014.
- Frankenfeld (RN), Gay. “Obesity Plus Low Self esteem May lead to Risky Behaviors in Teens.” WebMD. Accessed September 10, 2014.
- McCarthy, Kate. “Signs of Low Self-esteem in Children.” As Dr. Richard Besser reported “Good Morning America” on February 23, 2010. Accessed on September 10, 2014.