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Improving Low Self-Esteem in Young Children

Child Self-Esteem, child couynseling Fayetteville NC, Carolina Counseling Services, improving self-esteem in children

Improving Low Self-Esteem in Young Children


Like adults, each individual child is unique, depending on their personality types. They can be wonderfully phlegmatic (adaptable and attentive) or sanguine (friendly and playful). When positive, happy and feeling optimistic about themselves, they tend to navigate through their challenges more easily.  There are children who can similarly be wearisome, being outgoing and competitive, or more introverted and “deep.” For these children, developing a healthy level of self-esteem can be more difficult, having the tendency to slip with life’s difficult steps.

As a parent, seeing your child physically sound and materially well-provided for are but a couple of your many concerns. However, you can only do so much. There will often be certain aspects of their life that may be out of your hands, such as the effects of their emotional health on their physical health, and their ways of adjusting and making decisions.  A healthy level of self-esteem can do wonders in having a satisfying life while growing up. If you want to help them have a happy childhood and to develop a positive personality, provide them all the support they need to develop a positive self-esteem.

Aside from your love, care and encouragement, providing the right professional help can spell a beautiful difference. These professionals can assist you in becoming a proactive parent, recognizing the symptoms early and providing them the kind of help they need.


Understanding Self-esteem

What is self-esteem? It is a characteristic attribute that refers to one’s general sense of self-worth. It affects how a person, or a child for that matter, appreciate themselves irrespective of their flaws, weaknesses, idiosyncrasies, and all, so that they satisfactorily move through life on a day-to-day basis despite the challenges. It is often associated with confidence. While these two are related, the latter is linked more specifically to the individual’s feeling of trust in their abilities to accomplish something.

Developing early during childhood, parents and guardians have an influential role to play in the development of self-esteem of their children. With so many developmental challenges dotting their paths, a child’s sense of self-esteem is constantly challenged while growing up. Encouraging and supporting the children can help them succeed as they tackle each challenge that comes their way. Conversely, criticizing them may prevent them from self-discovery, as self-doubt dampens their courage and eagerness.

Self-esteem or self-worth is not static, continuing to develop and moving from low to middle and high, depending on the everyday occurrences in your child’s life. Despite the tender age, it remains to reflect their emotions and thoughts, so that what they think and feel impact their sense of self-worth. It can help them overcome their difficulties and survive life’s burdens, just as it can shield them against complications, disappointments and criticisms, as well as sadness, frustration and desolation.


The Value Healthy Self-esteem in Your Child’s Life

With so many milestones and difficulties, children can be continually challenged and so is their emerging self-esteem. Parents must take these challenges as opportunities to bolster their self-esteem and every other facet of their personality anchored in it, such as confidence and positivity. Healthy self-esteem can help ensure they are successful in their relationships, daily functioning and overall well-being which can result in them reaching higher levels of their dreams and accomplishments. Be aware, though! Self-esteem is volatile. So, some experiences can deflate their courage, interest and confidence. Though failing is as natural as succeeding, however, unsupported, it can bring about a discouraging experience. With low or poor self-esteem, a child is vulnerable to a lot of emotional issues, having no shield against complications, criticisms, disappointments, sadness, frustration, desolation, etc.

It is a good thing when your child has a healthy level of self-esteem. It can bolster their positivity and sense of balance. Having such feelings and thoughts is important in facing their challenges and in staying bubbly, optimistic and joyful despite the snags. When happy and positive they tend to have an easier time sailing through their day-to-day tasks and trials.  On the other hand, those with low self-esteem can be inclined to fail and be unhappy, become withdrawn, self-critical, distressed, and afraid to take on challenges. Thus, they generally end up being a spectator rather than a participant, missing the opportunity to grow with each experience. 

A certain level of self-esteem is necessary in the development of your child’s positive character. A healthy level can sustain their optimism and confidence, while feeling proud of their skills and achievements. Poor self-esteem can be pervasive and damaging to the quality of their lives. If it is indeed that way, worry not because therapy in the hands of a good, right-fit professional can help to boost their sense of self-worth. If they value themselves, each experience – good or bad – will be looked upon as just another opportunity to be better.


Does Your Child Needs Professional Help?

Many parents have difficulty spotting the signs and symptoms of low self-esteem. For one, the symptoms are highly variable, being different from one child to another. Many are also non-specific. This is how a professional can help. A professional will not just focus on their weaknesses, failures, how they blame others for their blunders, or how they negatively respond to censures. They will also evaluate their other manifestations that are regarded as benchmark symptoms for poor self-esteem.

What are the symptoms to watch out for? If your child has a poor image of himself/herself, he/she is likely to exhibit some of the benchmark manifestations of a child with low self-esteem. They will tend to feel inferior and may exhibit any or several of the following says Healthy Children.Org:


  • Your child avoids a task or challenge without even trying. This often signals a fear of failure or a sense of helplessness.
  • He/she quits soon after beginning a game or a task, giving up at the first sign of frustration.
  • He/she cheats or lies when they believe they’re going to lose a game or do poorly.
  • He/she shows signs of regression, acting babylike or very silly. These types of behavior invite teasing and name-calling from other youngsters, thus adding insult to injury.
  • He/she becomes controlling, bossy, or inflexible as ways of hiding feelings of inadequacy, frustration, or powerlessness.
  • He/she makes excuses (“The teacher is dumb”) or downplays the importance of events (“I don’t really like that game anyway”), uses this kind of rationalizing to place blame on others or external forces.
  • His/her grades in school have declined, or they’ve has lost interest in usual activities.
  • He/she withdraws socially, losing or having less contact with friends.
  • He/she experiences changing moods, exhibiting sadness, crying, angry outbursts, frustration, or quietness.
  • He/she makes self-critical comments, such as “I never do anything right,” “Nobody likes me,” “I’m ugly,” “It’s my fault,” or “Everyone is smarter than I am.”
  • He/she has difficulty accepting either praise or criticism.
  • He/she becomes overly concerned or sensitive about other people’s opinions of them.
  • He/she seems to be strongly affected by negative peer influence, adopting attitudes and behaviors like a disdain for school, cutting classes, acting disrespectfully, shoplifting, or experimenting with tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
  • He/she is either overly helpful or never helpful at home.


There are many other possibilities. The list isn’t exhaustive enough. If you notice some unusual signs, it is best to seek out the help of a therapist.


Playing the Part in the Development of Your Child’s Healthy Self-esteem

Developing and sustaining a healthy level of self-esteem in your child can be more challenging than you think. It can be extra difficult when the child is ill-tempered or dispirited, especially if their personality type is complicated with certain other emotional or behavioral issues. Despite your best efforts, you may feel like what you are doing is not enough. You may feel that you are useless, not having the power to improve their sagging self-worth. If trying harder is just ending up with more issues and conflicts, know that you can always turn to child therapy. Specifically, you can seek help from a caring counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.  

Understanding the value of self-esteem in the life of your child, you know that they can’t just sail through life without a healthy dose of it. While it can develop naturally and easily for some children, it can be tougher for some, including your child. When they are exhibiting some signs and symptoms, it is important that you don’t take these lightly. If you want to give your little one a good “head start” in life, you can provide him/her the right help. You need not travel far from home. Carolina Counseling Services just opened a new office in your neighborhood: – the North Fayetteville Office in Fayetteville, NC. Call now for your child’s first appointment.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

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    Location: Fayetteville, NC