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How do you increase your child's self esteem?

My son is trying really hard in 2nd grade. He is a little behind but not in danger. I praise him for his improved grades, good behavior, and hard work. Still, I hear,"I am not good at anything!" He even says other kids are better than him at this or that when that is clearly not true. Is he just looking for attention?

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Asked by happycboys at 12:22 PM on Oct. 28, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 8 (264 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Try putting him in an activity such as Boy Scouts or a sport.

    Answer by dawnjohnson5 at 12:25 PM on Oct. 28, 2010

  • Shower him with more praise and continue doing so, he will get out of his rut.

    Answer by older at 12:26 PM on Oct. 28, 2010

  • No, he's not doing it for attention. He's most likely fearful of being behind. That's good that he recognizes he needs improvement. Just keep encouraging him and helping him. Be aware that when he says he's not good at anything that he may be feeling inadequate aqbout something not related to schoolwork. Like soccer, having lots of friends, his looks, etc. Talk to him and let him know he can talk to you about anything. Let him kow that while grades are important, they aren't EVERYTHING. What matters most is that he is a loving caring person who is honest and things like that. Let jim know that you are proud of him for so many reasons!

    Answer by SweetLoveofMine at 12:26 PM on Oct. 28, 2010

  • As parents we can only do so much. Letting kids learn on their own, making mistakes on their own, failing, succeding...those all help a child build self esteem. What can help that along is finding something the child is really good at, be it a sport, drawing, whatever, just helps

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 12:28 PM on Oct. 28, 2010

  • Encourage him to try things even though he's down on himself about them, if he fails say "wow, that's so awesome that you tried something so hard. I wish I were brave like you " if he does well tell him the usual "wooo hooo good job"

    Answer by AprylnAtticus at 12:31 PM on Oct. 28, 2010

  • My 3rd grade daughter is doing the same thing. I don't know where it comes from. She gets from 97-100% on every math assessment (3 or 4 per year). She gets similar grades on her reading assessments. She writes very well, too. I think, unfortunately, peer pressure is affecting kids earlier than it used to.

    I try to notice and point out every genuine success (I don't want to falsely inflate or praise blindly). I tell her how proud I am of her. I point out that it isn't a competition.

    This just started so I'm not sure if it's working yet or not but right now, it's all I know to do.

    Answer by DivaDynamite at 3:11 PM on Oct. 28, 2010

  • (*I would be very careful with increasing praise. It can often lead to more problems later~)

    To build self-esteem, offer more chances for him to impress himself. Speaking words to him won't be as rewarding. Give him more responsibilities and do not criticize at all. Let him know what you expect, do these chores-tasks mostly together for a while if it seems necessary. But be sure to give him some jobs that he can tackle on his own.

    Answer by doulala at 1:11 AM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • Maybe he is just in a rut.

    Answer by sherribeare at 3:43 AM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • I would find a positive activity for him. Something he enjoys and just might be good at! Scouts, soccer, or other clubs like book clubs or something non-competitive like art club might help him in his overall self esteem. He may also need a friend - someone HIS AGE to also tell him how great he is doing :)

    Answer by at 12:53 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • I don't think it is an attention thing. I would just be sure to make sure he knows that we are all differnent and that is a good thing. If we were all alike life would be pretty boring. Tell him he is perfect the way he is and just continue to make sure he knows that doing is best is all he can do and that is what makes you proud of him. Good luck Momma, I too had a little one that had oor self esteem and he battled it all through school!

    Answer by Peajewel at 12:30 AM on Oct. 31, 2010

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