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My 6 year old said he doesn't like himself.

Posted by on Jan. 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM
  • 18 Replies

I'm wondering if anyone knows how to address this? My 6 year old son told me today that he doesn't like himself. He said he doesn't know why yet when I asked him.  I don't know if he was just tired? Or how much I should worry/follow-up on. It makes me worry, of course, having had low self esteem as a child.  But I don't remember feeling like that at this young age.  Thoughts? Help?

Thank you!

by on Jan. 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM
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by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2013 at 11:32 PM
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I would just keep the door open for talks.  Ask him more specific questions?  Has he had trouble in sports/ pe class,  math , reading, do other children wear clothing he would like to wear, etc.  Perhaps putting him in martial arts or some other activity could help.

by Silver Member on Jan. 15, 2013 at 12:08 AM

Just keep saying things like "You know what I like about you is......"  And sit and play with him and maybe he'll open up and tell you what's bothering him. But I wouldn't make a big issue of it.

by on Jan. 15, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Keep the communication open with him. Chances are it's a one time thing but just in case it isn't, let him know you are here for him.

by Member on Jan. 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM

I would be concerned.  Especially if he doesn't have something specfic and typically kid in mind - such as an inability to hit a home run or to draw an airplane.   If it's just a general feeling.  I'd see if his drawings also have a sad tone to them, if he draws himself alone or separate from others...things like that. 

 I'd try to see if there is something in his life that is making things difficult, like a divorce or loss of a grandparent, that might at least in part explain his feelings.   If something unpleasant happened recently then there would seem like more of a reason to feel bad and as if the feeling might go away and is temporary.

But something painful happened quite some time ago, if the feeling seems to be general and long lasting (more than a few weeks), if it doesn't seem to be going away on its own, if it's accompanied by other remarks that just don't seem typical of his age, trouble making friends, or a drop in his school grades, I'd be concerned and seek some professional advice.

Being nice to him and saying things like, 'you know what I like about you', that's all well and good, but if that sad mood doesn't lift, if a little simple encouragement just doesn't cut it, I'd be looking at doing something a bit more than saying, 'you're a nice kid'.   It is not normal for such a mood to persist for long in a child.

by on Jan. 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM


by Platinum Member on Jan. 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

I would heap constant praise on things he does. Maybe get him involved in subjects that interest him. Drawing,sports,,puzzles reading etc. You are right to nip this in the bud as soon as possible. It can lead to many exciting endeavors through out life.

by on Jan. 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM

 i wouldn't keep bothering him about the issue bc you dont want him to know how it could be bad... might make him feel worse. i'd keep an eye on his behavior and emotions. let the teacher (or anyone he spends a lot of time with, day care, etc) know so that he/she can keep you updated on how he is in class. when he's playing with other kids, something might come out that is a red flag. if it continues, i would talk to the dr. if it was a one time thing and he seems fine, i'd own it up to being tired or maybe having a bad day.

by Bronze Member on Jan. 15, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Do something that is just the two of you.   In doing that he may open up.  If he said it just that one time, don't worry to much.  My 7 yo DD has said things like that once or twice, but find out from her a week or two later that no one would play with her that day.  In her mind no one liked her so she didn't like herself then either, but she was her normal happy-go-lucky self the next day.

In having the Mommy and me time with your son, tell him he gets to choose what you do that day.  If he doesn't want to chose, give him a few options that you know he likes, i.e. going to the movies, a special place to eat, play a favorite game, etc.

Maybe talk to his teacher to see if he is acting like that at school too and see if he/she has seen anyone picking on him.

by Bronze Member on Jan. 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

I would start with brainstorming (and listing) with him all of the good things about him.  Help him to recognize his strengths.  He will need some guidance in accomplishing this, but it doesn't hurt for him to hear others talk about his good traits.  And list everything...silly, little things that seem unimportant...just make the list as big as possible and laugh along the way.

Does he have siblings?  Can you encourage them to help each other talk about and comliment their strengths?

Anyway, after this list is done, he might be more open to talking about what he views as his "shortcomings".  Don't argue with him, just list them to start.  After he feels the list is complete, compare the two lists.  Show things that overlap.  Talk about the things that are on the strengths side that he had to work to accomplish emphasising that it took practice and time to achieve those goals.

Be conscious of your own langugage.  Are you constantly criticizing yourself? Him? Other people?  For every negative you should be finding and saying at least 3 positives.

Make a short list of goals that are achievable, but not too far out of reach.  Work together to meet them and praise the efforts.

by on Jan. 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

My oldest son said things like this when he was being bullied. I wouldn't pressure him too much, but when he says things like this, just ask him if someone has said something to make him not like himself. Also at times like this let him know that you like him and why you like him. This is not typical 6 year old behavior.

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