My child does not like himself, what should I do? The advice of a psychiatrist

You may have already been confronted with this kind of sentence from your child “I don’t love myself” “I’m not handsome/beautiful”… Héloïse Junier, doctor of psychology, gives you all these tips for understanding better this time.

Well before adolescence, around 5 or 6 years old, your child may show signs of a lack of self-confidence. If he can already verbalize it in front of you, that’s good news, but you don’t know how to react or how to help him. “I do not love myself”, “I am not beautiful/beautiful” Where “I suck / suck” these sentences may confuse you
Héloïse Junier is a doctor in psychology, she is the host of the Facebook and Instagram account: “The shrink counter-attacks”. She is also the author of the book Parent Survival Manual published by Dunod. Here are his tips to help your child regain self-confidence and love themselves again.

First, parents should be reminded that self-confidence of a child, that esteem, love he wears, is scalable throughout his development. Nothing is fixed. It’s not because he sometimes says to you today: “I’m too bad”, “I can’t do anything”, “I’m ugly” that the situation will not evolve positively from here. a few weeks or a few months.

What’s next after this ad

Lack of self-esteem in children: where does it come from not loving yourself?

The origin of a lack of esteem varies greatly from one child to another, and often multifactorial. Some children have a vulnerability of their own, making them more prone to a lack of self-esteem: learning disabilities, performance anxiety, social anxiety, highly reactive temperament, etc. At the same time, this lack of confidence can be fueled by the child’s entourage: a situation of bullying at school, an authoritarian and punitive parental style, hurtful words repeated against him…

What attitude to adopt? The 7 good reflexes

  • Give it regular individual and qualitative attention.

As parents, we are often taken by time and over-stressed by our laptop in the presence of our children. It is interesting to give a few “real” minutes of our time a day to your child, during which we make sure not to be disturbed – starting by putting our laptop in “airplane” mode for example! During this dedicated time, we can play with him, or simply talk to him, ask him to tell us about his day, to ask him about his feelings. It’s a way of showing him that he has value in our eyes.

  • Adopt a non-violent educational style, respectful of the child and his needs

Research in psychology shows that the authoritarian and punitive style of education tends to reduce the child’s self-confidence and self-love. Conversely, children brought up in a “democratic” educational style, where the framework is laid down in a non-violent and respectful way for the child, promotes this self-esteem.

  • Accept him as he is, even when he is in the throes of strong emotions

It is valuable to seek to accept your child as he is, with his strengths and his difficulties, without wanting to bring him too close to a norm or an ideal, or to compare him. Which is much easier said than done! Likewise, it is important to accept your child, to support him and to give him our affection also when he is angry, sad or afraid, and not only when he is feeling emotions. socially desirable like joy or surprise!

  • Focus on what it does well

Due to our bias of negativity, we tend to focus more on the weak points of our child, on his faults, his failures. It is essential to also emphasize his resources and his qualities, especially when we speak to him. Let’s not forget that the image we have of our child naturally influences the image he has of himself.

  • Offer him to take up challenges within his reach

Individual resources and a child’s confidence in himself and his abilities are stimulated when he takes up a challenge. Depending on the strengths and difficulties of the child, it is interesting to be able to offer him challenges that we know he can take up (approaching a new friend in the playground in the event of social anxiety, succeeding in learning a short poem in case of attention difficulties, etc.).

  • Remind him that he has the right to be wrong

In case of error, it is important to remind your child that he has every right to make mistakes and that it is by making mistakes, by making mistakes, that we learn. And it’s the same for adults! No, he’s not “bad” or “good for nothing”. He learns, that’s all.

  • Encourage him to create friendships with his peers

The love that a child has for himself also depends on the quality of his relationships with others, and the love that his peers have for him. The more a child weaves qualitative bonds of friendship with other children of his age, the more he will tend to have good self-esteem.
Of course, all the advice I have just given is only indicative. These are ideal parenting attitudes that are not always possible in real life. The goal is to tend towards this ideal, not to make it an objective to be achieved every day. No parent is able to apply all of these tips continuously. No pressure then!

What’s next after this ad

What are the phrases not to say?

In my opinion, the following kind of comments should be avoided:

  • Criticize your childreminding him for example that it is “his fault”, that he “again” failed his test
  • Compare it to others insisting on the fact that “Matheo, he had a better mark than you…”
  • depreciate oneself as a parent too often in front of his child
  • We will also avoid negative labels such as “you’re stupid”, “you suck”, “you’re angry”.
  • Encouragements such as “Wow, you managed to do this puzzle on your own! are generally more beneficial than the compliments themselves such as “Wow, you’re super good at puzzles! or “You are very smart!” “.

Read also: This innocent question to stop asking children (and why)

When to consult a specialist?

When this lack of esteem becomes too frequent and/or too prolonged over time, it is advisable to consult a specialist. In which case, consultation with a psychologist practicing CBT (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies) with children is particularly indicated.

Parenting writer

Zoé is on a work-study program, she joined the aufeminin team in September 2022, she writes for the parenting section. Committed and curious, Zoé likes to write to advance…

source site-35