Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Are Your Kids Equipped To Stand Up To Bullies?

 


Hello amazingparents, do you know that somehow by our actions or inactions we are partly responsible for our children's inability and unwillingness to stand up to bullies.

I will do a post on this platform soon on what we need to know about bullying and how we can equip our children to boldly defend themselves against bullies.

However I will like you to read this article I wrote on an international magazines called 'Your Teen Magazine" about a bullying experience and choosing the right kind of friend. I am sure you will find it to be quite an interesting read, as I am sure you will find other life transforming posts on the "yourteensmag" blog.

Here is the link to their website.

https://yourteenmag.com/social-life/what-makes-a-good-friend

Friday, October 21, 2022

HOW MUCH SCREENTIME IS TOO MUCH SCREENTIME FOR MY CHILD?

 





HOW MUCH SCREENTIME IS TOO MUCH SCREENTIME FOR MY CHILD?

 

INTRODUCTION

“Shh! Shhh! what is she doing?” Kelvin asked

“She is using her phone, I think she is on Facebook as usual” his sister responded

“Mum, Mum, Mummy, we are bored” they both chorus

“Please, I am busy, go and watch a cartoon on T.V or play a game on your Play station”

……………………………………………………………………………………………

“What sort of noise is this? Why can’t you kids be quiet for once?”  Their daddy barked

“We are sorry dad, we were just bored so we decided to play ‘tag’ game” the children responded

“Now go to your room, all of you, and watch T.V, and don’t come out until evening” Dad ordered

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“These children will never allow someone to discuss in peace” Mrs. Okey complained

“My sister, please don’t mind them, they are all like that. My children do the same” Mrs. Chude responded

“Adaobi, please go and tell your siblings to keep quiet, I have a visitor”

“Mummy, can we go outside to play instead?” Adaobi replied

“No, don’t play outside, all of you should go and watch T.V in the sitting room” Mrs. Okey responded

Turning to her friend, Mrs. Okey says “Television has to be the next best thing after a fat bank account, it is every mother’s saving grace, hahaha, hahaha”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Is she right?

Is the T.V Screen really our saving grace?

Is it really ok for our kids to sit glued to the TV screen watching programs for hours?

Is it possible that several hours of sitting before the screen could be harming our children?

If too much screen time is harmful to our kids then, is the “peace” it affords us as parents worth the harm it does to our children?

 

Join me on this piece let’s look at the dangers of too much screen time for our children, how much screen time is too much screen time and as we share healthier alternatives (activities) to excessive screen time.

 

WHAT IS SCREEN TIME

Wikipedia defines Screen time as the amount of time spent using (watching) any electronic device with a screen like smartphones, computers, television, or video game console. In most of our homes, one or two or even all of these gadgets are present and available for the kids to use anytime and anyhow they like.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is strongly advised that children below 18-24 months should not be allowed to use a screen of any kind. This stand is corroborated by WHO. The screen can only be introduced when a child is 2 years and above and even then the screen view must be, timed, structured and purposeful. Children of different age ranges have different recommended daily screen time schedules. The chart below is a recommended guide for screen time for your children.


           

                                                                 Screen Time Chart


World-leading brain scientist Patricia Kuhl, who runs experiments with over 4,000 babies yearly says they have discovered that babies do not learn from machines rather they learn from human interaction. It has been proven that off-screen experiences for toddlers, enhance, their cognitive, socio-emotional, and language development skills

Children do not get the skills that they require to thrive on the screen (Wendy Ologe). The screen captivates the attention of the child so much that when it is taken away, they find it hard to concentrate on anything else.

According to a 2019 citation by WHO on the topic “Guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for children under 5 years of age,” it was noted that for children to grow up healthy they must reduce their sitting time which is often spent in front of the screen and play more and sleep well. This guideline was developed by a team of WHO panel of experts

 Even though our focus is on children but statistics have it that over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not as active as they need to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and this accounts for over 5 million deaths all over the world, yearly

The negative effect of too much screen time is too dire to be ignored. Let’s look at some of them

 

 

DANGERS OF EXCESSIVE SCREEN TIME

It has been discovered that screen use beyond the recommended screen time has adverse effects on children. Let’s look at some of these effects.

 

Ø  Loss Of Focus And Concentration - Excessive screen time for children reduces the attention span of children, especially in class. Notice how focused children are when they are watching the screen, it captivates and holds their attention so much that anything that is not on the screen will not hold their focus and concentration. So when you complain that your kids don’t concentrate in class, remember that you share in the blame because you exposed them to too much screen.

 

Ø  Eye Problems: Screens emit blue light and children’s eyes don’t filter it well. The blue light that the screen emits causes retinal damage (known as phototoxicity) in your children’s eyes and causes blurry vision. New studies suggest that this might cause permanent eye damage. Some studies believe that constant use of the screen can lead to an increase in the occurrence of the eye defect “Myopia” (Nearsightedness).

                             

Ø  Inability to Attain Developmental Milestones: Toddlers, who are exposed to excessive screen time usually have delays in the attainment of their developmental milestones, especially in the area of cognition and language development. A test carried out on excessive screen users found them to score very low in thinking and language tests.

 

Ø  Interference with Sleep Time and Sleep Quality:  In humans, the production of the hormone, melatonin which is responsible for sleep, usually begins in the evening. When children are exposed to screens at night times, the blue light emitted by the screen inhibits the production of melatonin, and this delays sleep, causing the brain to be highly alert and the body less ready to sleep. This will affect overall alertness the next day and will lead to a befuddled mind and foggy brain.

 


Ø  Premature cortical thinning of the brain: When some 18-year-olds with gaming addiction were observed it was discovered that they had lower grey matter volume in so many vital parts of their brain. Grey matter is the outermost layer of the brain and it contains many neuronal cell bodies. It occupies the regions of the brain responsible for memory, self-control, decision-making, emotions, speech, muscle control, and sensory perceptions like seeing and hearing. So these abilities will be greatly hampered.

 

Ø  Lack Of Social Skills Due To Social Isolation: Children who are glued to the screen which is an elusive environment (unreal world), get cut off from the real world and lose out on social interaction with real people (family and friends). So you will notice that when they encounter people their communication skills are usually poor.  This social isolation is also linked to high rates of emotional problems like moodiness, depression, and suicide. Research has shown that children who engage in activity-based programs are more likely to live longer and healthier.

 

Ø  Lack of Executive Functioning Skills: Executive functioning skills are the necessary skill your child requires to be able to thrive and succeed in life. Most of these skills are learnt as a child interacts with others, and his environment, and as he encounters challenges and leverages the lessons and knowledge he has acquired to proffer solutions to those problems. Examples of these executive functioning skills include; critical thinking, problem-solving, self-control, time management, etc.

              


Ø Less Family Interaction and Bonding Time: In so many homes there is rarely a time set aside for bonding and interaction because everyone is busy with the gadget. The father is on his computer system, the kids are either watching T.V or playing a game on their game console and the mother is busy with her phone surfing social media spaces. Everyone is in his/her world alienated from each other. This is quite detrimental as it is impacting on the family structure. Children don’t confide in their parents whom they perceive as being too busy and teachable moments are missed out on.


Ø  Screen Addiction. This is an extreme condition because research has proven that screen addiction causes the same harm to the brain as cocaine addiction does. Some children are so addicted to the screen that taking the screen away from them causes them to be disoriented. What’s more, recent studies have linked high screen exposure of children of about 1 year to the development of autism spectrum disorder at 3 years and above.

Other effects include; excessive weight gain (obesity,) due to less physical activity, poor posture especially for phone and tablet users who always bend when they are using it, overactivity of the brain, etc.

The list is endless. Most research is ongoing to discover other effects if there is of excessive screen time for children.

 

 

STEPS TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE SCREENTIME REDUCTION AND REGULATION

  v  Connect with your children and be involved in the plays and off-screen activities you introduce.

  v  Create a screen time checklist. This checklist is a guide that details all the activities they must carry out before they get a chance to be on the screen. Screen time should also have its time duration. Depending on the area in which your child is in dire need of development, you can structure the guide to strengthen those areas. If for instance, you want to strengthen your child’s executive functioning skills, adding cooking to that list would be a good idea. If it is in the area of reading, then adding a reading-related activity is a good option. 

  v  Place a limit on screen time access and ensure they comply. You could also place a curfew. Like “no screen 1 hour before bedtime or during exams period”, “no screen while eating”, “no screen during bedtime, etc.

  v  Keep T.Vs away from the children’s room and for your older children educate them on gadget use, also educate them on good online behaviour

  v  Also model appropriate screen use as the adult in the home.

  v  You could also try watching with them as much as you can. It helps you put a check on what they watch, and how long they watch and you can also spot teachable moments in the program to teach them

  v  Go big on exercise, healthy nutrition, and sleep.

  v  If they need the screen to do school projects and homework, encourage them to take frequent breaks. The American Optometric Association recommends the 20/20/20 rule. This rule says that you must look away from the screen after every 20 minutes and focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

 


 

Healthier Alternatives to Screen time

There are so many highly beneficial activities you can introduce to your kids when you reduce screen time so they won’t be bored and idle. Some of them include;

·         Educational Games - Jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, Sudoku, building with Lego, Charade, Spot the difference, chess, scrabble, etc.

·          Arts - Writing, reading,  journaling, drawing, painting, crafts making, Origami

·         Indoor Physical Activities – Dancing, cooking, aerobics, house chores, etc.

·         Outdoor Physical Activities- Biking, racing, playing tag, jumping rope,

·         Recreational Activities – Visit to the park, short walks.

·         Spiritual Exercises – Praying, Bible study, Meditation, etc.

The list is inexhaustible, think and be creative. You could also do some research to get more

    
          Chess game                   Puzzles                      Praying                          Biking


Conclusion

Years from now children will suffer severely from lack of focus and concentration and other fallouts of excessive screen time. We need to start correcting this anomaly that has made parents resort to using the screen as nannies or pacifiers or worse still as a show of affluence because our children will bear the brunt of our ignorance. Like I said before the skills that your children need to thrive in this 21st century are not found on the screen, they are learnt as your children interact with their social ( human) and physical environment.

 Hope you have found this piece insightful, please do drop a comment

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

MY CHILD , HIS NUTRITION, HIS BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, AND FUNCTION

 



MY CHILD, HIS NUTRITION, HIS BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, AND FUNCTION.

Hello my amazing parents how do you do?

I hope you enjoyed reading my last post that talked about helping a child who is dealing with low self-esteem and you also found it quite resourceful. If you haven’t read it, please hurry now and do so and I promise you will be glad you did.

Ok, let’s go straight to our topic for today- “My Child, His Nutrition, His Brain Development, and Function”. We will seek to establish the link (if any) between the food my child eats, his brain development, and function.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Research has proven that the quality of nutrition that a baby receives plays a huge role in the outcome of his brain development.  Consequently, it determines brain function and is vital to the child’s cognitive abilities, socio-emotional skills, and behaviours. According to Georgieff MK, Head of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Development, at the University of Minnesota, school of medicine Minneapolis, deficiency of nutrients like Iron and iodine can hamper cognition and motor development in children.

Every organ in the body has various foods that cater to its nutritional needs and wellness and we must be well aware of this so that we don’t starve some organs of their nutritional needs.

Bearing in mind that nutrition starts playing a vital role right from the time when the child is still in its mother’s womb, pregnant mothers must feed well so that their unborn babies won’t lack the nutrition that they need to thrive.

 

BEGINNING OF THE BRAIN FORMATION

Between 17 – 30 days (about 3 weeks) after the conception of a feotus, a process known as Neurulation occurs. Neurulation is a complex process that involves the deepening of the Neural groove of the baby and the elevation of its Neural folds which results in the joining and closing up of the folds to form what is known as the neural tube. It is this neural tube that eventually becomes the baby’s spinal cord, spine, brain, and skull. This piece of writing is not intended to discuss the complex process involved in brain formation rather it is for us to understand the immense role vital nutrients play in the success of this process and many others.

One major nutrient that is very important in neurulation is folic acid also known as Vitamin B. It is recommended that pregnant mothers take a daily dose of 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid to avoid having babies who have neural tube birth defects which occur when the neural tube does not close up properly.

There are two types of neural birth defects, and they are;

  Ø  Spinal Bifida: This is a neural tube defect that affects the spinal cord. It happens when the lower end of the neural tube fails to close up and then the spine and the backbone fail to form. It could result in paralysis of the lower limbs of the baby, inability to control bowel and bladder movement, water filling up in the brain, and ultimately learning disabilities.

  Ø  Anencephaly: this is a deadly neural tube birth defect that affects the brain. It happens when the upper end of the neural tube fails to close up properly resulting in the improper formation or total absence of the brain of the child. Babies who are affected by this defect are often miscarried or die shortly after birth.

 


So you see that right from conception, nutrients start playing their role in brain formation.

Let’s not also forget that good nutrition ensures adequate blood supply to the brain thereby reducing or eliminating the possibility of stroke occurring.

 

HEALTHY BRAIN FOODS

With the importance of nutrition to your child’s brain development established, the focus should be on what we should be feeding our children to promote their brain health and function

Listed below are some healthy brain foods which every child needs:


  v  Eggs. How many of you, especially those of us that are from Africa, grew up hearing that it is not good to give children eggs as it makes them steal? Well, that is the biggest myth of all time. Egg which is a rich protein source is very healthy for your child’s brain development as it is very rich in B-Complex Choline which is known to boost neurological functions and brain development




  v  Oily Fish - Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acid-rich fishes are very important brain foods. The brain uses Omega 3 to build brain and nerve cells which are vital for learning and memory. In later adult years, it slows down or prevents brain degeneration and memory decline diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Examples of Omega 3 fatty acid-rich fishes include:

      ·         Salmon

      ·         Sardines

      ·         Horse Mackerel, (Kote in Nigeria)                                                                                                        

      ·      Mackerel ( Titus in Nigeria)

      ·         Herrings (Shawa /Bonga Fish in Nigeria)                           

Tuna also contains omega-3 fatty acids, however, it is not included in this list because it contains mercury, with some of its species having a higher level than others. So if you are a Tuna fish lover, kindly do some research on its safety before consumption.

 


  v  Leafy Green vegetables: leafy green vegetables like Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, and Pumpkin leaf (ugu in the Nigerian parlance) are a good source of folate (folic acid). Garnishing your green vegetables with small chunks of fish, tomato sauce, and seasoning might be a good option to make it desirable to your kids especially if they don’t like eating vegetables.

 


  v  Nuts and seeds: this is another brain builder. Most nuts contain vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and proteins, and antioxidants which are needed by the brain for its development and function. Nuts also boost learning, memory, and concentration. Below is a list of some nuts that are very healthy for the brain. 

     ·         Walnuts: They contain DHA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) which protects brain health in newborns, Improves cognitive abilities as the child grows, and tackles degenerative brain diseases. It also helps to reduce stress.

     ·         Hazel nuts and Almonds: They contain Vitamin E (which possesses antioxidant properties) and prevent cognitive decline and improve memory.

     ·         Peanuts:  They contain Choline and Vitamin E, A, folic acid, etc. Research suggests that eating peanuts can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.

     ·         Pecan nuts: They contain choline and Vitamin E, A, folic acid, etc., and they prevent motor neuron degeneration.

     ·         Cashew nuts: They contain, Iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, etc. which help to increase oxygen flow to the brain.

     ·         Flax seed, Pumpkin seed, Sunflower seed, and, Sesame seed: These seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, several vitamins, and minerals, etc. which enhance memory, and helps the brain produce serotonin which is a very important neurotransmitter.

Researchers claim that walnut ranks topmost on the list of nuts that are beneficial to the brain,

 

  v  Oats:  Low glycemic index food like Porridge Oats also help to boost brain function because they balance blood sugar. They help to improve the concentration and focus of children, especially in school.

 

  v  Beans and lentils: Beans contain zinc which is very vital for brain development. Beans and legumes are also rich in Vitamin B and according to Integrative Medicine Physician, Irina Todorov, MD, Vitamin B plays a great role in the production of neurotransmitters which help in the transfer of signals between nerves.

 


  v  Fruits- although blueberries rank topmost on the list of brain fruits, banana which is rich in potassium, manganese, vitamin c, and fiber is another great fruit that promotes brain health. Other fruits include oranges, grapes, strawberries, blackcurrants, watermelon, etc.

 


Other foods that are good for your child’s brain include; avocado pear, black rice, tomatoes, rosemary, mint leaves, probiotic-rich yogurt (fermented yogurt), etc.

Before we conclude, here is a list of foods that kill your brain.

  Ø  Added sugar and sugary drinks,

  Ø  Alcohol.

  Ø  Food rich in trans-fat (fried food like chips).

  Ø  Highly processed food (baked products), like white bread. A better alternative is whole-meal bread.

  Ø  Canned Tuna, (it contains mercury and too much consumption of it can cause cognitive decline)

 

Conclusion.

Nutrition plays a very crucial role in the brain development of a child from conception to about 3 years, as this age bracket marks the formative years of the brain. So careful attention must be paid to the nutrition of children so that their brain gets the needed boost it requires to develop and function at optimum capacity.

 

Kindly drop a comment and let me know how valuable this information has been to you.

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

How Can I Help My Child Who is Struggling With Low Self Esteem

 



How Can I Help My Child Who is Struggling With Low Self Esteem 

 

Introduction

     Emerald’s mum couldn’t shake off the gnawing feeling that something was wrong with her 9-year-old daughter. What it was, she couldn’t say but she just knew deep down that Emerald needed help. Her countenance wasn’t as bright and cheerful as it used to be.

Earlier that afternoon, while she had gone to pick Emerald up from school, Mistress Celine her class teacher had complained that Emerald was doing poorly in class and would rarely participate in class activities, especially those that require that she makes presentations. The teacher further added that Emerald had even resorted to stealing other pupils’ stuff. She warned that if Emerald didn’t improve or change her behavior, she would be disciplined.

 All through the drive home, there was pin-drop silence in the car, they could both hear each other’s breath sounds. Later that evening after deep thoughts, Mrs. Okoye called Emerald to her room to have a word with her.

As calmly as she could, Mrs. Okoye began

Mrs. Okoye: Emerald, I am really worried about the things your teacher told me about you this afternoon. Why did you steal from your classmates? Did you need the items you stole and if you did, why didn’t you ask me? I am not happy that you stole from your classmate

Emerald: I am sorry mom, I am truly sorry. I lied. I wasn’t the one who stole the hair band that was missing. Even the other things I owned up to stealing, I didn’t steal them, Ifeoma and her friends did. I just said it was me so that I will be punished instead of them and I was hoping that if that happens, they will like and accept me as their friend. I don’t have any friends in school and no one likes me or wants me as their friend because I am not smart and beautiful. It makes me feel so sad.

At that instant, Mrs. Okoye began to understand what she was dealing with. Emerald was struggling with low self-esteem. She knew because she had casually picked up a Child Care Journal some time ago and skimmed through it. She couldn’t help but notice that the things that Emerald was saying were similar to what she had read in one of the topics in the Journal that talked about children’s self-esteem.

 Not armed with enough information on what to do, Mrs. Okoye asked Emerald to go and rest that they would be having another discussion soon.

Does this sound familiar to you? If it does follow me as we study the phenomenon of low self-esteem in children, its causes, and consequences and explore ways we can boost the self-esteem of your child.


What Is Self-Esteem?

    According to psychologists, self-esteem is an individual’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. It is one’s confidence in their abilities and worth, how much they appreciate, value, and like themselves.

Children are not born with a high sense of self-esteem. It is acquired, nurtured, and developed as a child interacts in a loving relationship with his /her parents and the caregivers around him. As parents lovingly nurture their little ones, giving attention, support, smiles, hugs, nods of approval, and showing excitement at their little wins, they feel loved, wanted, accepted, worthy, valuable, and important. This gives the child a sense of security and empowers them to believe in themselves. This is the foundation upon which self-esteem thrives. If however, the child goes through any experience during childhood that robs him of the ability to see himself as worthy and valuable, his self-esteem will be depleted and then that child is considered to have low self-esteem


Causes of Low Self-Esteem

      1. Lack of parental care and concern or over-involvement in your child’s life 

Lack of involvement in the life of your child makes the child feel unloved, unimportant, and unwanted and this breeds a feeling of low self-worth. Children who grow up in such families end up becoming withdrawn, unable to cultivate healthy and lasting relationships, and unable to dream big, aim high and achieve much in life. They always feel “not good enough” because they try to rationalize that their parents would have shown them love and care if they were deserving and worthy of it. This feeling produces low self-esteem in children.

On the other hand, as much as parents must get involved and support their children to explore their world, over-involvement in the child’s life robs the child of the opportunity to identify who he is, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and how best to navigate all the twists and curves that life presents to him with great expectations and successful outcomes. This group of children depends solely on their parents for their existence and decision-making. They deify their parents and measure all of their achievements by the standards created by their parents. They strive to become a copy of their parents and when they fall short, they are usually unable to deal with their failures.

 Parents need to sometimes step back and allow their children to make decisions for themselves, struggle, fail, succeed at it, learn the lessons therein and become empowered to do better next time. It is this balance between being supportive and giving your children enough space to allow them to discover themselves that marks the foundation for healthy self-esteem in children.

   

  2.      Childhood trauma

       A difficult and painful experience that hurts deeply and is difficult to let go of or forget. Examples of childhood trauma include:

i.                      Loss of a loved one through death, separation, divorce, abandonment, or any other means

ii.                   Physical injury especially one which results in deformity or disability,

                                                                                                                                             

3.   Abuse

       This is the mistreatment of someone which most times is done to unfairly gain some benefits. Abuse of a child comes in different forms and most times it comes from loved ones. Examples of abuses include;

i.                     Physical abuse – This involves constant beating, violent shaking, choking, rough handling, etc. of a child.

ii.                   Sexual Abuse – this happens when an adult, teenager, or even another child uses their power or authority to force or coerce another child into engaging in any form of sexual activity. This can be so traumatic that many children never recover from the experience especially when they don’t receive any form of therapy after the incident occurred.

iii.                  Emotional Abuse- this happens when a child is treated in a way that attacks their emotional, mental, and psychological well-being. Examples include negative criticism, especially from parents, teachers, and loved ones, bullying of any kind, verbal and non-verbal assault like name calling, cursing, angry looks and stares, isolation, and outward show of rejection.

 

 

Impacts of Low Self-Esteem

  • Anxiety. The constant fear of failure and rejection that people with low self-esteem have affects their mental health so much that they frequently exhibit excessive and abnormal states of worry.
  • Eating disorders. Overeating is the most common eating disorder that people with low self-esteem suffer from. This is because eating gives them the satisfaction and happiness (however shortlived that is) they lack and crave so much. This is harmful because overeating causes them to gain so much weight and then they look more unattractive, get more rejection, and sink deeper into their state of low self-esteem. 
  • Emotional distress. Low self-esteem messes up one’s emotions so much. People with low self-esteem constantly have mood swings, are always bitter, are prone to crying for no apparent reason, are angered easily, and exhibit heightened negative emotions.
  • Panic disorder. This is an anxiety disorder where one experiences regular bouts of panic attacks characterised with sweaty palms and racing heartbeats. This comes with their irrational fear of failure. 
  • Risky behaviors. Risky behaviours like delinquency and truancy can sometimes be traced to low self-esteem. For teenagers, it is a form of self-expression having been suppressed for a long time.
  • Social anxiety disorder. This is a mental health disorder where one is unable or unwilling to have social interactions. They dread speaking in public, avoid eye contact, and avoid forming and nurturing relationships, especially relationships outside the family zone.
  • Substance use and abuse. They easily experiment with harmful psychoactive substances like Indian hemp, cannabis, alcohol, etc. This could be a result of not being able to resist or stand up to peer pressure or peer bullying. It could also be a coping mechanism.
  • Stress. This could lead to health diseases like high blood pressure, migraine, improper digestion, etc.
  • Failed relationships. They find it hard to make and keep friends, they always feel lonely, sad, and isolated even when they are in the midst of people.


Consequences of Low Self-Esteem in Children

1.  They usually exhibit a lack of control over their lives. This is because they have an external locus of control. (External locus of control describes a situation where someone, now in this instance a child, tries repeatedly to do something and fails. After a while, the child begins to feel that no matter what he/she does he would never get it right. So he opts to stop trying because in his mind he rationalizes that there is no use trying if he is going to fail all the same).

      2.     They engage in people-pleasing behavior. They feel guilty when they say no to others, they satisfy the needs of others to the detriment of their own need.

     3.   They don’t set and reinforce boundaries (they usually fear that people will stop liking them if they were to spell out boundaries to them). This is the reason why your daughter keeps tolerating the bullying from a classmate or a friend even when you can see she is hurt by it.

     4.    They lack self-trust.

     5.    They constantly compare themselves to others. Children with low self-esteem usually indulge in Negative self-comparison. A situation where they critically compare themselves with people whom they perceive to be better than them is known as UPWARD Social comparison. This can be positive if it motivates one to aim to be better but when it leaves the comparer with a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness then it can take a hit on the child’s self-esteem and make him feel inadequate and worthless.

     6.   They usually doubt and second guess themselves and also worry a lot.

     7.     They find it difficult to accept positive feedback about themselves. When they are praised or complimented for something they did or own, they always feel that the praise is not genuine as they see themselves as undeserving or unworthy of praise.

     8.     They find it difficult to seek help when they need it because they have already assumed that they are not deserving of anything good, help inclusive.

     9.    They usually indulge in negative self-talk. You will always hear them say things like "I am dumb, I hate myself, I am not good enough, I am not beautiful, no one loves me", etc.

    10.   They exhibit an abnormal fear of failure and this might make them not venture taking tasks or projects and when they do and fail they blame everyone else for their failures.

    11.   They can involve in what is known as Self-sabotaging. This is a process where someone fears failure so much that they hamper their own success and craftily project their failures on someone else or something else. For instance, a child might decide to lie in bed and pretend to be sick so that the failure of an exam won’t be attributed to his lack of intelligence but rather to the sickness(something he has no control over).

    12.   They might feel that they are incapable of replicating success and thus dwell so long on that one-time achievement, unwilling to try something higher for fear of failing and wiping off the success record with a fail.

    13.   They would usually turn off their camera during virtual learning, make self-limiting comments about themselves or take the fall for a crime they didn’t commit.

 

 

 

Ways to Help Your Child Build A Healthy 

Sense of Self-Esteem



            1. Show your child unconditional love and acceptance. Let him/her know that your love for  and acceptance of them does not depend on what they did or didn't do, neither does it depend on their intelligence, brilliance, or accomplishments. Be their biggest cheerleader, cheering them on as they tackle all the hurdles that life presents to them

           2.  Encourage them to help someone else feel good about themselves. Teach them to be kind, to be giving, and to be loving. This makes your child feel like a hero of some sort and that feeling can boost their confidence and sense of self-worth.

           3.  Guide them to do things that make them feel good. It could be drawing, crocheting, sewing, painting, playing a musical instrument, etc.

    4.   They need to stay physically active—exercise can help improve mood.
 
    5.  Encourage them to think about and focus on something they are good at.
 
    6.  Encourage them to keep a gratitude journal. A diary where they write down the things they are grateful for. The gift of family, good friends, health, a roof over their head, passing a math quiz, a sincere compliment from his/her class teacher etc.
 
    7.  Instruct them to challenge every negative thought. They must downplay/ disregard / ignore negative talks. Talks that make them feel that they are not good enough.
 
   8.  Encourage them to spend time with people who make them feel good about themselves.
 
   9.  Guide them to volunteer to help others. They can do community service
 
  10.  Teach them to always remember that everyone makes mistakes and as such, they shouldn’t crucify themselves when they make mistakes rather they should learn from their mistakes.

 11.  Teach them to celebrate their accomplishments, both big and small achievements.

       12.   Teach them to love themselves and make positive self-affirmations

       13.   They should laugh more. You can achieve this by engaging in more play time with them.

       14.   Point out their areas of improvement and achievement no matter how small it is.

       15.   Applaud their achievements and be specific. For instance, you can say “I am happy that you made an effort to tidy up your room before leaving for school this morning.

        16.   Set them up for success by giving them tasks you know that they can succeed at and applaud their success.

         17.    Help them acquire a skill or expertise. Learning how to do something and doing it well builds one’s confidence and this in turn boosts one’s self-esteem.

        18.   Seek professional counseling/medical help if your child is suffering from a very severe form of low self-esteem.

       19.   Finally and most importantly take it to God in prayer with faith. Jeremiah 32:27 says "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is there anything too hard for me?  Surely God is our anchor and there is no challenge that He cannot help us through.

 I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to drop your comments on how helpful this has been.

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