Low Self-esteem - FamilyEducation
Low Self-esteem
01/04/2009 at 12:55 PM

Hi, I am new to the site and hope I'm doing this correct.

I am have a problem with my 11 yr old son.  He has a very low self-esteem. My husband and I don't know how to help him. He makes friends and  he plays sports and does very well. However he thinks he's not as good as everyone else.

We do live on a block with some very competitive kids all the same age as my son. The kids do trash talk to  each other for example: you stink , you should have had that ball,  how did you miss that one and  his  and easy out.  These comments effect my son 100 time more then they effect the other boys, he takes them as personal attacks and thinks everyone picks on him and hates him. My son will stay in for days and not play with anyone, when he does go back out he wants to stay with the younger kids or just sits on the sideline.

My husband are very concerend our son will be going into Jr High next year and We don't know if he can handle it.

If you have any suggestions on how we can help our son build up his self-esteem and see how great he is we would be greatful

Thank you

Proud Mom of 2GR8BOYS




You say he plays sports, but does he like sports? I played football, wrestled, and coached wrestling. I have seen many kids who did not want to participate in sports, but did so because they did not want to disappoint their parents. On the flip side, I have seen many kids who had the heart to play, but lacked physical ability. I would make sure he understands that he has many options. My youngest wants to play football and wrestle; my oldest has no desire to do either, and will probably stick with music rather than participate in sports. They both know that it is their decision, and that I support them in whatever they decide. If you believe that your son wants to participate in sports but needs a little more assistance; then maybe you and dad could help him by practicing with him. There are also places that have one on one coaching to help athletes improve in areas where they need work. Some batting practice in a cage may be all he needs to quiet those who heckle him. It's hard to trash talk when you’re chasing down a ball. Reassure him that it is part of people’s competitive nature. Allowing himself to become frustrated by friend’s comments will negatively impact his concentration, and his ability to perform.

Some direct teaching on coping with trash talk is also in order. Read Aesop's fables. Many of the "morals of the stories" are real useful. One thing that I've learned somewhere is that criticism from others needs to be handled like waste. There may be some useful stuff in there, like the returnable glass pop-bottles of my youth, but most of the garbage is just garbage. That's why they call it trash talk.

I agree w/ both sngldad and acitez. Practicing w/ your son is a good idea. Also, teaching him that he doesn't have to be good at everything is good too. Everyone has his strengths and weaknesses. If your son likes the activities he's currently in, by all means encourage him to continue. Try to stress that these activities shld be fun. Your son shldn't be worried about anything else. If your son does better in one sport more than another, maybe you can pursue that sport more seriously. My son didn't take to baseball well, and he still shows little interest in it. On the other hand, he loves swimming. So we help him build his confidence and self esteem through swimming. I think a lot has to do w/ the instructor and the child's motivation to participate. If the activity is something that the child shows no interest in or maybe finds difficult, he may want no part of it. Expose your son to different things, and find out what he really enjoys and does well. There are going to be things he doesn't excel at or like, but that's part of life. No one's an all around perfect person.

Maybe you guys should have a talk with him and always always always try to motivate him in everything he does...try to put a lot of motivation in his life and that should help some hopfully

I' m surprised that a number of the ideas seem to support the other boys conclusions. Because these boys think he"stinks" doesn't mean he does. I'm concerned that if the parents start practicing more with him it will appear that they think that he isn't doing well. The writer says he does well at sports and has other friends, it's these poorly mannered boys that have the problem not the child who is appropriately reacting to them,