Middle school children often focus on their faults, or what they think are their faults. In their minds, they are not attractive enough, not tall enough, not good enough in sports, or not smart enough.
A little of this is normal. But too much can lead to long-term poor self-esteem.
Help your child see herself as a person of value:
- Help her find her gift. Some children are good at math, some are good musicians, others are good writers.
- Take an interest in the things that are important to her. Don’t make light of things that she takes seriously.
- Offer specific praise. Not just, “You’re great,” but, “That dessert you made last week was delicious.”
- Treat her the way you want her to treat you—with kindness and respect. Never be sarcastic to your child.
- Encourage her to volunteer. Helping others often makes people realize how much they have in their own lives. It is also a great way to feel good about yourself.
- Notice effort. Like anyone else, your child will not be able to do everything she tries. But trying hard at something is an achievement in itself. It deserves to be recognized.
- Let her have a bad day. On some days, your child will be too upset or sad or preoccupied to do her best. Offer a hug and a word of comfort.
- Be there to listen. Make sure your child knows you will always have time to hear whatever is on her mind. Being listened to is an important human need.
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