Children with low self-esteem


Children with low self-esteem feel that the important adults and people in their lives do not accept them, do not care about them very much, or they feel unworthy. Negative self-esteem is related to low self-confidence, insecurity, underachievement, anxiety, depression, acting-out behavior, sleep problems and being alone. These children with low self-esteem can grow up to be very troubled. Parents need to give their children love and affection and show their kids that they are appreciated.

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Low self esteem in children

Good self-esteem in the development of children is extremely important. Having good self-esteem is a key component in the healthy development of children and adolescents. Children that have low self-esteem can grow up to be troubled adolescents and adults and its important to build a healthy self-esteem in a child. A person with high self-esteem feels like they can accomplish anything they set their mind to, whereas a person with low self-esteem feels that they are worthless and nothing they do will make a difference. How people feel about themselves affects their behavior and how they are. There are many influences that can make a difference in the self-esteem of children like parents, teachers, friends, and society in general can have an effect on a child’s development. The people closest to the child have the largest influence on their self-esteem; this is why it is very important that parents, teachers, friends and family members are a positive influence in how children feel about themself. “Self-esteem is the “feeling of self-appreciation” and is an indispensable emotion for people to adapt to society and live their lives. For children, in particular, the environment in which they are raised contributes profoundly to the development of their self-esteem, which in turn helps them to adapt better to society”(Hosogi, 2012). There can be many causes to why children may have low self-esteem. One of the reasons why a child might have a low self-esteem can be because of abuse. “If a child is

abused by his parents, either physically or emotionally, he will feel as though he is worthless and deserves to be treated poorly. Parents who physically abuse their children set them up for low self-esteem and increased chances of the child growing up and getting into relationships in which they are abused or abuse others” (Nichols). Another reason might be because of very over protective parents. “Overprotective parents may unknowingly lead their child toward having poor self-esteem. This is due to the child not being able to experience life for himself, and having to always rely on his parents to do everything for him”(Nichols). Also high expectations from parents can make a child feel inadequate. High expectations from parents can also play a role in a child developing low self-esteem. A child in this situation may feel as though she is never good enough for her parents and has to keep working to make herself live up to their standards (Nichols). A childs physical appearance can have an impact on a child’s self esteem, if they are obese or if they look different can cause low self esteem.Other causes can also be financial issues, peer pressure, or their achievements.

One of the most common reasons why children have low self esteem is cause of bullying. The bullies themselves also have low self esteem. “children of both primary and post-primary age who were involved in bullying as victims, bullies, or both had significantly lower global self-esteem than did children who had neither bullied nor been bullied. However, the pure bullies, in contrast to the pure victims, placed the same value on their physical attractiveness and attributes and on their popularity as did their peers who had not bullied others or been bullied. The bully-victims of all ages had the lowest self-esteem of the subgroups in the study. Also, the more frequently children were victimised or bullied others, the lower was their global self-esteem. The typology and frequency of bullying and the age of the children when they were involved in bullying influenced the status of the specific domains of self-esteem”(O’moore, 2001). The bullies bully because they feel like they are inadequate so bullying others make them feel better about themselves. The victims of bullying have low self esteem and feel like their peers think low about them and that is why they are treated badly.

There are many effects of children with low self-esteem. Statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report that 1 out of every 33 children may suffer from depression in the United States. And while depression can be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain, environmental factors can either worsen depression symptoms or help relieve them, especially in children (Jeanty). Low self-esteem can affect a child development in many ways. Once a child has low self-esteem, the fear and anxiety that the child already has affects everything a child does, says, and thinks. Many children who have low self-esteem avoid starting relationships, or learning new skills for fear of rejection or failure. Many avoid social settings and refrain from sharing their opinions because of their fear. Some isolate, become people pleasers, and become passive. Some children may become aggressive and cause chaos in their relationships. In addition, children who experience a depressive episode are five times more likely to become depressed as an adult. Indeed, depression in childhood may predict a more severe depressive illness in adulthood (Turkington).

It is very important for parents to help their children develop a healthy self-esteem. There are many things parents can do to help their children learn that they are lovable, capable, and competent, when their children are at a very young age. Parents must be very careful not to endure anything unknowingly that can cause low self-esteem in their children. Children get their self-esteem from their parents. Children thrive on approval and encouragement. Encouragement is very important because it will have a positive effect. Encouraging a child everyday even for the little things can be enough. It is important that people should focus on the positive things the child does instead of focusing and dwelling on the negatives. Children need to be shown love and affection. Parents should tell their children that they love them and think they are special. As a parent there are many ways you can help your child. One way can be is playing the “teaching role”. “The Teaching Role is just what it sounds like—you actually teach your child how to solve problems.

So when you see that your child isn’t feeling good about himself, one of the things you want to do immediately is help him figure out what’s causing that lack of self-worth”(Lehman). Another way can be is “the coaching role” coach your child with the skills they already have, just like the coach of a sport would do. For example, if your child is going through a difficult time or learning a new task that’s proving to be a challenge for them, try coaching them by saying things like, “You’ve solved this kind of problem before. You’ll solve it again.” Also another way parents can help can be is to set limits. “Give your child appropriate consequences, but work with him to learn how to solve the problem that’s blocking him. The sad fact is, many kids who don’t have appropriate limits set around their behavior act out, and take out their low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness on others. Without limits and consequences, without that balance of responsibility and accountability, kids may never feel compelled

to change and may get stuck in the same “feel bad, take it out on others” cycle, which doesn’t solve their problem”(Lehman). Praising your child for their achievements make them feel adequate and like they are doing something right. By parents just simply encouraging and praising their child they can already build a healthy self esteem for their child. The child would feel appreciated and valued by their parents. If a child has low self-esteem, get professional help. Child therapists and counselors can help identify handling strategies to help deal with problems at school or home that help kids feel better about themselves. It is better to get professional help when they are young so they don’t grow up to be troubled adolescents and adults. Children need to know that they are cared for and valued. Building a child’s self esteem is very important. A child’s self esteem can impact a child for the rest of their life. Low self-esteem can lead to so many problems. So it is important for children to think about themselves in a good way so they grow up to be healthy adolescents and adults.


Hosogi, M., Okada, A., Fujii, C., Noguchi, K., & Watanabe, K. (2012). Importance and usefulness of evaluating self-esteem in children. Biopsychosocial Medicine, 69. doi:10.1186/1751-0759-6-9

Child Development: Self Esteem. Health Reference Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 13 May 2013. .

Turkington, Carol, and Albert Tzeel. childhood depression. Health Reference Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 13 May 2013. .

Nichols, J. (n.d.). What are the causes of low self esteem in children? read more: What are the causes of low self esteem in children? . Retrieved from

Jeanty, J. (n.d.). The effects of children with low self esteem. Retrieved from

Lehman, J. (n.d.). Low self-esteem in kids part ii: 3 ways to help your child now read more. Legacy Publishing Company, Retrieved from O’Moore, M. M., ; Kirkham, C. C. (2001). Self-esteem and its relationship to bullying behaviour. Aggressive Behavior, 27(4), 269-283.


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