Natalie is a high school teenager who believes she is not smart enough. Her parents noticed her self-esteem is low and want to help her regain her confidence.
Stories like Natalie’s are not uncommon in today’s high achieving environment. Students may be influenced by their classmates and their perception that a subject is hard or challenging. In order to help Natalie, her parents reached out to certified WISDOM Coach, Aditi Verma. Together, they worked through stories and activities to find negative patterns and thoughts. Natalie and Aditi replaced them with new, positive thoughts and Natalie’s self-esteem and self-confidence grew. She was able to overcome the anxiety that she had for tests and even started getting A’s due to her newfound confidence. In fact, all of her grades improved.
Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent, according to Dr. Neuman in his post on Psychology Today. To learn more about how to help families improve their child’s outlook, we spoke to Aditi, who is also the co-founder of EmpowerandHelp.
What happens when a child compares themselves to others?
When kids continually assess whether they are “better than” or “less than” others, it creates either low self-esteem if they see themselves as “less than” or can create arrogance and entitlement when they see themselves as “better than”. Parents and educators can discuss why differences are good and we need all different types of people with different gifts to thrive. Particularly when self-esteem is low, we can help them identify their special gifts and honor their uniqueness.
Why does self-esteem and self-confidence need to be taught?
Self-esteem and self-confidence are like the air we breathe; we need it to feel alive, happy and worthy. Children with high self-esteem have a higher value of themselves and their capabilities than those with lower self-esteem. They naturally have higher self-confidence in their abilities to do things and are more prone to try to new things and take risks, they feel loved, confident, accepted and heard. Even when they make mistakes or face failures they will know how to cope with them and move on.
What are ways that parents can help kids with self-esteem and self-confidence at home? For example, if my child says “I’m not good at math” is there a way to respond to this?
If a child says, “I’m not good at math”, dive deeper into why he or she feels that way? Is he comparing himself to other kids who got better scores? Is he getting frustrated when he is not able to solve a problem even though he is at a higher level math? Or there is something else?
Listen to the child’s needs and brainstorm ideas together to support that need and implement the solution that child feels more comfortable with. It could be hiring a tutor, going to additional support classes, creating a routine at home for child and parent to sit together and practice some math, etc.
How does your course help kids understand these topics?
We teach skills through a fun short story. Kids connect to different aspects of the stories, which helps them open up about challenges or questions that they may be struggling with.
We also create some real life scenarios that kids go through to understand how to apply what they learned. Sometimes kids provide a scenario that they faced and as a group everyone provides feedback on how to handle that. By working with the instructor, kids develop an amazing problem solving attitude that they can use on their own.
Our goal is to increase self-esteem and self-confidence so kids feel capable of facing life’s challenges and don’t give up. They learn to achieve their goals, make progress, to help and give.