self esteem

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

self esteem ; How Kids Get Self-Esteem

Babies don't see themselves in a good or bad way. They don't think "I'm great!" when they let out a big burp, or "Oh, no, this diaper makes my legs look weird!" Instead, people around a baby help him or her develop self-esteem. How? By encouraging the baby when he or she learns to crawl, walk, or talk. They often say, "Good job. Good for you!" When people take good care of a baby, that also helps him or her feel lovable and valuable.

As kids gets older, they can have a bigger role in developing their self-esteem. Achievements - like getting a good grade on a test or making the All-Star soccer team - are things kids can be proud of. So are having a good sense of humor or being a good friend.

A kid's family and other people in his or her life - like coaches, teammates, and classmates - also can boost his or her self-esteem. They can help a kid figure out how to do things or notice his or her good qualities. They can believe in the kid and encourage him or her to try again when something doesn't go right the first time. It's all part of kids learning to see themselves in a positive way, to feel proud of what they've done, and to be confident that there's a lot more they can do.

A Little on Low Self-Esteem
Maybe you know kids with low self-esteem who don't think very highly of themselves or seem to criticize themselves too much. Or maybe you have low self-esteem and don't always feel very good about yourself or think you're important.

Sometimes a kid will have low self-esteem if his mother or father doesn't encourage him enough or if there is a lot of yelling at home. Other times, a kid's self-esteem can be hurt in the classroom. A teacher may make a kid feel dumb or perhaps there is a bully who says hurtful things.

For some kids, classes at school can seem so hard that they can't keep up or get the grades they'd hoped for. This can make them feel bad about themselves and hurt their self-esteem. Their self-esteem will improve when a teacher, tutor, or counselor encourages them, is patient, and helps them get back on track with learning. When they start to do well, their self-esteem will skyrocket!

And there are some kids who have good self-esteem but then something happens to change that. For example:

If a kid moves and doesn't make friends right away at the new school, he or she might start to feel bad.
A kid whose parents divorce also may find that this can affect self-esteem. He or she may feel unlovable or to blame for the divorce.
A kid who feels too fat or too thin may start thinking that means he or she isn't good enough.
Even going through the body changes of puberty - something that everybody does - can affect a kid's self-esteem.

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