Children will deal with a seemingly stressful situation in their own way, but low self-esteem is primarily experienced in situations in which the child feels they are sure to fail. At times, children will hide their lack of confidence entirely. In other situations, the children will indirectly voice their lack of confidence through comments, such as “I always do this wrong”, “I am so stupid”, or “I’m sure I am going to fail”.  As a parent, it may be difficult to discern if your child is simply frustrated or if it is a deeper, underlying issue.  

Robert Brooks, Ph.D., defines some common coping strategies your child may be using at How can parents spot low self-esteem in their children? These include:

·       Quitting- Upon being frustrated with a task, child may offer an excuse and simply quit

·       Avoiding- Refusal to engage in the task at all

·       Controlling- Attempting to control a situation, may become bossy and assertive

·       Clowning- May hide their lack of confidence by acting silly, to avoid the feeling of pressure

·       Being Aggressive and Bullying- May result to bullying to avoid dealing with feelings of inadequacy

·       Denying- May deny that they are worried about a test, or that they care when something happens

·       Being Impulsive- Trying to finish the task as quickly as possible, to “just get it over with”


References "Self-Esteem during the School Years: Its Normal Development and Hazardous Decline" by R. B. Brooks (1992), Pediatric Clinics of North America, 39, 537-550 

At The Magic of Think  we would love to hear your comments and experiences regarding low self-esteem.

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” - Mark Twain