Your child’s biggest problem:
They defeat themselves in their own mind. That’s it.
By doing this, they are slowly over time killing their self-esteem which negatively affects their self-image which impacts EVERY aspect of their life.
When children lack self-esteem (aka self-love) they experience:
- panic attacks
- mood swings
- anger outbursts
- feelings of unworthiness
Does this sound like your child?
All of the above IS fixable when you address the root issue: your child’s self-esteem.
Why your child lacks self-esteem?
(there can be many reasons, below is a common example with the many kids I work with)
Growing up, children are NOT taught to LOVE themselves or LOVE life. Instead at an early age, your child’s “intelligence” was measured by performance in every subject in school. Therefore, if your child did not excel academically, your child at age 6 (or whatever age) automatically was deemed “NOT smart”.
Conversely, if your child was lucky enough to excel in EVERY subject, then your child learned validation by manufactured benchmarks, such as grades. This created the pressure to perform in order to continue their validation of worthiness, all of which is exhausting, stressful and causes that dreadful “perfectionism” bug.
So regardless of whether your child fell into either scenario 1 or 2, that experience has shaped their self-image.
Now, should it have? No, of course not. Instead, we must teach our children that their worthiness comes from the inside and has NOTHING to do with outside accolades or other’s opinions of them. And that includes grades and everything else.
But unfortunately, the current reality lends to create a platform for your child at an early age to become very self-critical.
For example, self-critical thoughts based on the above scenarios include:
(Scenario 1) Does not excel academically:
- I am not good enough.
- I am not smart enough.
- What’s wrong with me.
- I have to study more.
- I don’t study enough.
- I am stupid.
- I don’t fit in.
- My parents are disappointed in me.
- My grades aren’t good, so I am not a good student or person.
- My teachers don’t like me.
- My parents will take away my phone or privileges.
- I’ll never get into college.
- I’ll never amount to anything.
- My friends are better than me because they are smarter.
Scenario 2: Does excel academically:
- In order to be good, I MUST do well.
- If I am smart and get a bad grade, maybe I am not smart.
- If get a bad grade, I am disappointed in myself.
- I must study, study, study in order to do well.
- I must be the best to prove my worthiness.
- I must be the best in order for my parents to be happy.
- I receive positive attention from my parents only when I do well, so in order to feel loved, I must continue to do well.
- I’m only as good as my last grade, which stresses me out about my next test.
- What happens next year, if the work is harder and I’m not the best.
- I MUST take A/P classes even though they stress me out.
- If I fail at anything, I’m a failure.
- I MUST do well in order to get into an IVY league school, so my parents are proud.
And the list goes on…
And I know, because I’ve worked with them. They put undue pressure on themselves to perform, fit in AND make you, the parent, happy. Let’s face it. There is no wonder why kids’ anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. And just remember, the above scenario is pertaining to schoolwork and grades! There’s also the social aspect with making friends, succeeding in sports, the pressures of social media…and much more!
So, what’s the solution?
It’s simple. Kids must learn how to love themselves AND how to start loving life. Regardless of EVERYTHING ELSE. They must know that the only opinion of them that matters, is their own. And when they improve their opinion of themselves (their self-image), by focusing on their positive, unique qualities, they WILL feel better.
And WHEN they feel better, they will:
- Stop equating their worthiness to their grades
- Be nicer to themselves in their own mind (Stop focusing on the negatives and start focusing on the positives)
- Be proud of their successes AND their failures (knowing that their success is in the ability to try new things)
- Embrace their brilliance (not by grades, but by how they feel)
- Love themselves so much (that they no longer compare themselves to others OR care what other people think of them)
- Be more comfortable being around others (as they are more comfortable being themselves!)
- Believe in themselves (no longer needing validation from anybody)
Because when your child starts loving life, life will love them back….
Connie Henriquez is a Teen Life Coach who has a private coaching practice located in Woodbury, NY where she teaches kids & teens how to overcome anxiety, self-doubt and improve their self-esteem in as little as 30 days utilizing her signature Start Loving Life® “positive psychology” coaching system. For more information on how your child can start loving life® call today at (516) 340-0378.