Children’s self-esteem, or how kids feel about themselves, is critical for their happiness and success in life.

Kids with strong self-esteem feel good about themselves – they tend to stay true to their values, stand up to peer pressure, and go for their dreams. However, kids with low self-esteem tend to get down on themselves – they often feel self-conscious, lack self-confidence, and might be easily influenced by peers.

It is not uncommon for kids to go through a phase where their self-esteem slips.  Unfortunately most kids don’t know how to pull out of it on their own.  By keeping a pulse on children’s self-esteem, you can support them in getting back on track if they begin to slip.

How can you tell if children are experiencing low self-esteem?  Here are three clues to look for:

1. The first clue is to observe how they talk about themselves

Do they put themselves down (“I’m so stupid.”) or do they build themselves up (“I played that piano piece really well!”)?

Do they compare themselves to others – seeing themselves as “less than” (“David’s a better hitter.  I’m not very good.”) or do they see their gifts and talents as well (“David is a great hitter and I’m a great fielder!”).

When children put themselves down or see themselves as “less than” others, this can be a sign of low self-esteem.

2. The second clue is to observe them in their interactions with others

Do they jump right in, assuming that others will like them or do they shy away, afraid of rejection? Do they introduce themselves to new children or do they only play with children they know?

Children who shy away from new experiences and new people might be struggling with their self-esteem.

3. The third clue is to look for the “grungies”

Grungies are negative emotions such as sadness, fear, anxiety, or embarrassment that often stem from self-doubt and self-criticism. If your child is experiencing the grungies, ask him a few questions to understand if he is getting down on himself. Listening to his self-talk can help you understand what is going on.

If he is experiencing self-doubt, work with him to develop a plan for success. If he is experiencing self-criticism, coach him to focus on what IS working versus what is not working. Then work together to develop a plan for improvement in the area he is concerned about.

By watching for these clues, you can help children get back on track if their self-esteem begins to slip.

If you’d like to help children develop powerful self-esteem as a life coach for kids, click to get a sample coaching story and learn more.

Or if you’d like resources on helping your own child with self-esteem or life coaching, visit our Resources for Parents


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