What to Do When Your Tween Has Low Self-esteem

Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how your 4-year-old daughter who was so fond of beauty pageants, ballet recitals, and summer camps grew up to be this shy, aloof tween in middle school. Once, they were all about saying yes to new things and people; now, every opportunity is met with “I can’t do that” or “I will never fit in.” Believe it or not, this phenomenon is universal. Kids tend to have a healthy self-image in their early years, but as they progress into adolescence, they experience low self-esteem. This affects their academic performance, peer relationships, and family life.

Why Some Tweens Have Low Self-esteem

There are lots of reasons why a young person develops a negative view of themselves. For one, it can be a result of comparisons. Between ages 6 and 11, children become more aware of their differences from their friends. For sure, you’ve heard them saying that their classmate is way more beautiful than them or that their friend plays basketball better. This is normal behavior, but if the comparison keeps them from seeing their worth, that’s when it becomes a problem. When they reach their teen years, which is when lots of changes happen to their body, they might grow insecure about themselves.

Another reason why your child suffers from low self-esteem is that they think that people around them disapprove of them. They can be wrong, but that’s what they feel. Disapproval can take different forms. It can be you saying an offhanded remark when they failed to get into the soccer team. Or it can be their favorite teacher telling them that they’re disappointed by their math performance. When these things pile up, over time, it can result in lower self-esteem. And the closer they are to the person “frustrated” with them, the more they’re pushed into the pit of an unhealthy self-image.

How You Can Help Bring Back Confidence

smiling young woman

Although there are many reasons behind your child’s low self-esteem, there are many ways to restore it. Start with honest communication. Tell them that you notice that they’re going through something and ask if they want to talk about it. Never ask them what’s wrong. That’s only going to discourage them from opening up. Once they start talking, listen and don’t judge. Don’t invalidate their feelings, too. It seems petty to hear statements like “Olive is prettier than me” or “Leo always gets higher math grades,” but don’t ever belittle such sentiments. Instead, direct them to positive, unique things about them. Remind them of their worth.

It also helps to have them talk to a guidance counselor in school. Sometimes, when the issue is too personal, some kids don’t want to open up directly to their parents. They prefer strangers who have no attachment whatsoever to the problem. If you’re still on the search for your child’s middle school, consider sending them to elementary schools in Gilbert, Arizona. Doing so will help your child understand how God sees and values them. If you’re looking for hassle-free student application, try online enrollment.

Finally, if your child’s self-esteem comes from something negative that you’ve said intentionally or unintentionally, apologize. It doesn’t matter if it was a joke. What matters is that they’re hurt. So tell them you’re sorry. Ask them how you can make things better.

Overall, remember that your tween’s unhealthy self-image affects everything in their life. Don’t let them stay in this pit. Restore their confidence by always reminding them of their worth.