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Building Self-esteem for My 11 Year Old Daughter

My 11 yr old daughter has always had low self-esteem. Even when she was a toddler - she would say I can't do it. She would wait for her younger sister (1 yr younger) to do it first - then she would try. She is also very hard on herself about school and her looks.
She is normal size, she does struggle w/school. Does anyone have advise or resources to help. I don't want my daughter to fo through life feeling bad about herself.

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I want to thank everyone very much for your thoughts and experiences that you have shared with me. I received several awesome ideas - I have been thinking about how to start incorporating these ideas into our lives. I hope to return this act of kindness someday to other families. God Bless You and thank you again...
B.

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Self esteem comes from within, from accomplishing things and being impressed with ones self (not from being told how wonderful one is). I really recommend the book by John Rosemond (a child psychologist and parenting expert) called John Rosemond's Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children. Good luck!

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I just found out that there is a "5 love languages" book about kids!! That might really help too! I wish you the best of luck.

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B., I will make this breaf since you have so many responses. I believe self-esteem issues when (raised in a healthy environment) are best filled when you can show a child how to serve others. Set her up to volunteer. Look at childrens hospitals (to read to them) etc. Maybe as she gets older soup kitchens etc. What this does is help the child feel greatful for their own gifts and talents and raises there self worth in where they can fit "in" over time in this great big world. She sounds like a sweet spirited little girl and believe you will see her start to blossom at the chance of helping someone else. ( i wouldnt ask her if she wants to, most kids would say no. Just set it up and do it with her) sometimes a little nudge is good. Good luck!!

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You've gotten a lot of responses, but here's my persepctive, hopefully it helps. First, the latest research in psychology says that self-esteem is over-rated. I know it's surprising, because so much emphasis is put on it in popular culture, but research shows that kids who get praised for everything (even when it's not totally earned) become praise junkies and more focused on getting the praise than trying hard. The truth is that many things in life are hard, and kids need to learn that it's ok to fail, that the important thing is to try. So now the recommendation is not to focus on "good job" all the time because it just sends kids the message that they are constantly being evaluated. Rather, praise her for trying even if she does not succeed. She is probably not trying because she's afraid to fail. In your desire to increase her self-esteem, you may be praising her so much that it may freeze her from trying things she fears she may fail at.

So try to praise her for trying. Focus on what she is doing, not the quality of the outcome (eg, "Wow, you drew a face", not "That's a beautiful picture").

Second, research in psychology seems to suggest that the more people's self-worth is based on inner attributes (eg inner character, even being loved by God, if you're religious), the better. So better not focus too much on external beauty but inner beauty. I always tell my daughter I love her even when she's looking a mess. And I tell her about how her inner beauty makes her shine.

Finally, some research suggests that the amount of confidence a person exhibits is a trait they are born with. I was actually a very shy and insecure child. That would surprise anyone who met me now because I've come a long way, but a lot of it had to do with learning social skills and a track record of true accomplishments, achieved by trying hard... So I guess my point is that she may just be a hesitent child and that's ok too. We can't all have super-confident children. Diffidence is unde-rated!

I hope this helps, and good luck!
R.

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I so empathize with your situation. I have three comments for your consideration, one more practical, the other two unconventional:
1) Does she have chores/responsibilities in the household? I have always heard/read that if children have responsibilities in the household and feel like they are contributing, that it helps their self-esteem. You can make her tasks something different from her sister but something that benefits everyone in the family, like setting the table each night, etc. Just something where she feels she is making a valuable contribution and that she is responsible for.
2) This one is going to sound crazy and very unconventional, but I have to tell you because it transformed me when I was 13. I felt really ugly, very down on myself, no self-confidence, etc. Now I don't believe we should hold our value in how we look on the outside, but because that was my biggest concern at the time, this is what my Mom told me to do and it worked like a charm. When she told me to do this, I thought she was crazy, but I had nothing to lose so I did it and it worked miraculously. She told me that every night, I should go to the mirror, look at myself, and say to myself "I am beautiful". It's very important to look at yourself while stating the words, and the words need to be said out loud. I know this sounds crazy, but I cannot emphasize how much I was transformed over one summer by doing this. It was so hard to do this at first, and initially it made me feel ridiculous, because I really didn't believe in what I was saying. But I have to tell you that this one simple thing gave me so much self-esteem, and it wasn't long before I felt normal and natural looking at myself and hearing myself say these words! I imagine this would work no matter what the issue was related to self-esteem. Could be looks, could be personality, whatever trait is desired, I believe this technique works. If you decide to try it, I would be curious to know your findings.
3) We have such a strong effect on the people around us but when our children have an issue, it can be hard for us as parents to feel good. One way you can really help your daughter is to only focus on her positive attributes. I don't mean you should be telling her what they are, I mean in quiet contemplation on your own, think about all of the wonderful traits she has. Focus on them, feel them, see her when she is at her best in your mind's eye. Never think about the negative stuff (easier said than done, I know. You may need to use your will to do this). If you do this on a regular basis, you will start to notice that her positive attributes become more pronounced and she will most likely start seeing this too, which will enhance her self-esteem. It's hard to imagine that we can have this effect on others but we do.

I hope you didn't find this advice to "out there", but I have seen great effects using these techniques on myself and my children. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. I truly hope you find something that will work for your daughter.

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B.,
you've gotten alot of great responses here...but I wanted to expand on what Jill H wrote. I had terrible esteem in middle school and was horribly teased. My mother tried so hard to tell me "you're smart and pretty"...it didn't mean a thing to me when the others were telling me just the opposite. What I really needed to hear instead was " if you get your confidence from what others think of you..you will never be happy or confident; it doens't matter what others think, it matters that you LIKE YOURSELF for who you are." If others don't agree....doesn't matter, you'll find someone else who does. I tell my children, be yourself, you'll attract the friends who appreciate the real you...you don't need to be popular..it's overated and shallow.
Not to get off track...your daughter needs to learn that trying and doing her best is all you expect...not #1 in everything...just her #1 efforts!
And...like Jill H was saying about practicing in the mirror...my quote on that thought is " What we think about, we bring about". If your daughter constanly tells herself "I can't", I'm fat, I'm ugly" she starts believing her own inner voice. If she will replace those thoughts with " I can do it" or at least " I will TRY it".. and "I like the way I look" " I feel good about who I am" "Being myself is the most important thing"...eventually she will start to believe those words and act on them! The power of the words and the mind are incredible(just look at how they work negatively....change that to work positively!)
Kids are so into being accepted...we need to teach them to just be themselves and wait for real friends who like them for who they already are. I tell my kids if they have one good friend who is real and trustworthy, then they are blessed. By the same token, if your daughter finds one talent that she is good at and focuses on that, maybe that will fulfill her...and if you are family of faith..definitely focus in on that.
Ruth's remarks about focusing on inner beauty was great! And so true! The most important thing you can teach your daughter is to LOVE herself..because if you don't love or believe in you..it's hard to believe that others do!
Liking yourself brings true esteem and confidence. It took me years to figure that out...once I did, my whole world changed.
Blessings,
L.

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Self esteem comes from within, from accomplishing things and being impressed with ones self (not from being told how wonderful one is). I really recommend the book by John Rosemond (a child psychologist and parenting expert) called John Rosemond's Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful

Your daughter's self esteem is something that comes from how she views herself, rather than how we view her. Heaping amounts of praise are often tuned out. You have to be able to reach her inner dialog. There is a good book I've been reading that can help you to do that. Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family by Adele Faber. Take some time to read it, I think it can help.

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Low self-esteem is a very hard thing to battle. My parents tried and tried to help me as a kid to battle it, but I don't think it ever really worked because I knew they both had low self-esteem. Children are slightly influenced in that area by the examples they see. In my case, both my parents had low self-esteem and thus their efforts to help me went in one ear and out the other. I didn't take their comments that I was pretty or smart seriously because I knew they were smart and didn't believe it.

At any rate, look at the example you set first. If you believe you might have a problem, then do something that both of you can benefit from. Sign up for karate to take together. Go to the salon together. Go buy some new clothes together. Make up a workout program that you both can work on. Make a point of pointing out positive aspects of eachother every morning. Maybe sit down and write out some things you are both thankful for in a journal. Sign up for a class together.

Even if you don't think you have a problem with self-esteem...maybe do these things with her anyway. Get closer to her to really show her how to look at life differently.

It is a tough battle. I'm 40 now and still have problems with it from time to time. My husband is exactly the opposite so I"m hoping he will cancel me out when it comes to our children.

I was a smart kid and did well in school, but I thought I was dumb. I always thought the teachers gave me more credit than I deserved. I was fairly artistic, but I didn't see it that way. I was a hard worker, but I didn't think that was anything special.

Because of my low self-esteem I was an easy target for peer pressure. My parents never knew it was a problem until it was too late. I knew what to say to them about such things, but in private with my peers I always followed the crowd. I got into a whole bunch of trouble during my teen years in my efforts to find love and acceptance.

Watch her and try like the dickens now to raise up her esteem now.

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B.,
This is coming from a mom with three boys, so take it with a grain of salt, but I remember feeling this way at 11. I agree with the other responses-- ESPECIALLY finding a Youth Group (I know a great one!!) and starting Tae Kwon Do (again, I know a great school!!) but there is one thing that I haven't seen addressed. Is there a Dad or some other strong, responsible man that she respects in the picture? A strong, dependable male figure can make a world of difference at this age-- and him finding her acceptable and intelligent and to be a blossoming young woman will mean to her more than Mom's words ever could. My favorite book for raising boys is Wild at Heart by Eldredge, and the companion book (for girls) is called Captivating, written by he and his wife. I learned so much about young girls and myself by reading this book. I think it may help a bunch to know a grown man that she trusts has faith that she is going to be a capable, beautiful woman. Just my two cents.

T.

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I just found out that there is a "5 love languages" book about kids!! That might really help too! I wish you the best of luck.

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B.:

I have two suggestions:

First, identify the things your daughter does really well. Then regularly increase her responsibility with regard to those things. For instance, if she's really good at planning you can put her in charge of the family schedule, developing the grocery list, etc.

At each step, praise your daughter for her success. The praise should be absolutely true and specific. Don't just tell her what a great help she is - tell her what a great help is was when she did X. And tell her why it was a help to you.

Second, I suggest reading "The Five Love Languages." This book explains how each of us accepts love in different ways - much like speaking a different language. For instance, if your love language is encouraging words but your husband believes the best way to show love is by touching, he may not understand when you don't feel loved. He might say "How can you doubt that I love you? I'm always holding your hand and giving you hugs."

The same is true of your daughter. Family members may not be "speaking her love language" AND her internal voice may not be "speaking her love language." Both of these could be contributing to her lack of self-esteem.

Good luck!

C.

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Hi B.,
You have received so many responses and I just wanted to add to something that Lorin C had mentioned which was great advice. I just heard a series on our local christian radio station yesterday about self esteem in our children and how parents can over emphasize self esteem. One thing that was mentioned was don't have your child grow up looking in a mirror where the only person they see is themself as the "prince" or "princess" and why we have so many kids with a "all about me" attitude. Have your child look out the window to see other people who need help instead of looking in the mirror. Put the emphasis on helping others and then having them volunteer with helping others so they feel good about themselves because of what they are doing comes from the inside not what they see when they look in the mirror on the outside. I just wanted to pass that on to you since I just heard this yesterday and it hit home here. Best to you and your daughter.
~D. M~

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Think about taekwondo or karate. It's a great way to build self-esteem and empower a girl without the pressure of being a "team" sport. I was the same way as a child. I was a teenager before my parents put me in taekwondo. My brother was the star athlete of the family, my sister was the popular girl who made friends easily. I was just the other one - the oldest, but the one no one knew was related to the other 2. I ended up being the best in taekwondo, though. I reaped the benefits. I felt more confident and stronger as a person. I stepped up and tried new things with less hesitation than I would have before. In 2 years, I was a black belt. I won trophies in tournaments, sparred against men, broke boards, could defend myself if necessary, and felt good about who I was inside and it radiated throughout. My oldest daughter, who is 6, is struggling with this same "I can't do it" syndrome and has from the start. She, too, relies on her not quite 2 year old twin siblings to lead the way sometimes and do something first - even at that age difference. We started karate in the fall for her. She's already progressing and has tested up 2 belt ranks. She really feels good about herself because she's developing confidence in a skill that not everyone has. She decided that she'll start soccer this spring though she normally cries and cries at just the thought of trying something new. It's still baby steps for us at 6, but I am hoping to raise her with more self-esteem than I had as a kid. Try to look at it this way...If you had everything done and time wasn't an issue, what one thing would YOU do for an hour that you just loved? Sometimes it's hard to decide, sometimes it's easy. Find out what her one thing is and back her fully in pursuing that. If she feels confident in some areas, she may be less hard on herself in other areas. And if she's struggling in school, talk to her teachers regularly. It's no fun to "not get it" when everyone else is. My daughter is also having a hard time in some areas. It is easy to find out what she's struggling with, but our real struggle now is taking that information, breaking it apart and figuring out how to present it so that she does get it. Her teachers are bending over backwards to work with me because they know I'm asking and asking and asking again. With their help and continued communication, we're seeing improvement. I also can tell that my daughter is taking note of my involvement. She's trying harder because she knows I'm really putting myself out there to help her. I know your daughter is older, but it is never too late to step in and try to break things down for her in another way. I am sure the teachers will be more than willing to help you or make recommendations. Maybe you can even get a tutor. I went to EIU in Charleston, and I know Effingham isn't that close, but it's also not so far you couldn't use it as a resource. They have a wonderful education program, and years ago when I was there, students were always looking to tutor and even just buddy up with kids who needed help. Summer is coming and some of those students are probably from your area. Call the school's education department and see if they have a referral program. I wish you the best of luck. It's a constant battle for me to maintain my own self worth and try to boost that of my young daughter!

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Hi B.,
Try & do as much fun mommy/daughter alone time as your schedule permits (movies, shopping, dinner, etc). Find out what her interests are & then sign her up. Finding an activity that she likes will help boost her confidence. The other thing to look into is AD/HD. Most people don't realize that AD/HD does not always mean hyperactive, especially for girls. Many girls with AD/HD are very shy & withdrawn, which is why it goes undiagnosed. There is a great book called "Understanding Girls With AD/HD" by Dr.'s Nadeau, Littman & Quinn. This book has so much fabulous information. AD/HD is much more common then people realize & the sooner it is dianosed the better it is for the child. Having AD/HD does not automatically mean medication. There are a lot of alternatives to meds. First, you have to see if this is the root of her self-esteem & school issues. Good luck.

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B.,

This is late in getting a response to you. I am 44 with a 13 year old girl and almost 15 year old boy. I grew up with low self esteem and did not want my children to be the same. Last year I started a group called IssueS, Individual SituationS Using Everlasting Solutions. I have girls from 10-13 come to my home every other Monday and we discuss issues that concern them. They put things they want to talk about into a box, I pull something out then create a lesson, (skit, and a craft too) with what the Bible says is the solution. I started with 4 girls in August and have now grown to an average of 15. This summer starting June 2, we will be doing a study on the Lies Young Women Believe and the Truths that set them free by Nancy Leigh Demoss and Dannah Cresh. We will talk for 30 minutes then swim, (swim study is what we call it). My goal in working with these girls is to give them hope in a messed up world and not to waste their lives on things that don't matter. Also, I am hoping my 12 & 13 year olds would become role models for the 10 & 11 year olds. I would love to talk to you if you have any questions.
B. S.

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10 ways to build a confident child
"ParentCenter" <____@____.com>
I find their tips helpful. They are short and to the point. I think that saying "I can't do it" must be common and that is why the "The Little Engine that Could" is so popular. I was told that when my son of 3 says "I can't do it, " to reply, "I think you can" in a questioning way and at times I will say, ok here I will do it, then he fights to do it first. then I can reinforce and say, "I knew you could." Also, now at your daughter's age, I would be amazed at things she does and maybe even say, "wow, I did not know you could do that." Using laughter a lot to share really helps a lot too (if she attempts a joke or something she does is really clever). I think building that relationship is most important...as you can see it is one of the hardest things I think as parents we do. I also believe some kids are just more confident by nature. These are just a few ideas. I will be interested to read more.

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I wish my mom had asked this question when I was 11! God Bless you for being proactive. I think the first step is to get her involved in a class like self defense or learning a musical instrument. Not only will she learn a great skill but it builds discipline and self confidence. She will meet other kids who share her interests and new world will be opened up to her. There is also a good read called Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher. I wish I had taken classes when I was a kid--big regrets now about not taking that precious time and learning something that could make me feel good about myself. Don't be overwhelmed, just try to find a class she will take and explain to her that nobody is born knowing how to do stuff--we learn together. Nobody expects her to be an expert and she will make mistakes but that's ok. Good luck and I look forward to hearing how she's doing in the future! By the way, prayer!

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11 is such a hard age! My advice would be to either tutor her yourself or put her into a tutoring program. Once she stops struggling with school that will help her feel more confident in that area. I remember feeling inadequate in junior high because I felt like I didn't know what I was doing! As far as looks, get her into something that she enjoys like a sport, dance, girl scouts -- anything that she can become good at. Once she feels like she's good at something the confidence in herself should follow. Also, you could have some girl time together where you do her nails or something girlie that she likes. Once again, I truly remember feeling awkward at that age. I never made anything I tried out for, wasn't a great student, was a very late bloomer, and once I found dance I had my thing that meant something to me and that really helped. I'm sure she's a lovely girl who is just going through her rough years. Good luck!

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B.-
I also have a daughter this age. As I read the other responses, I liked the one about the martial arts. I agree with what she had to say.

I would hesitate to do the make-over thing, though. I realize that looking good can make you feel good, but that can backfire. With my daughters, I never put value on appearance (of course it's important to look your best in some situations, but I don't want my girls to think their value is linked to how they look on the outside).

Whenever I have quiet time with my 6th grader, I try to point out her gentleness, her imagination, her ability to empathize, her mature response to something...whatever applies to the conversation. I talk about how these are important attributes that will carry her through life and make a person likeable and a valuable friend.

She may not be able to do some things, so be wary of linking accomplishment with value. She may never get that black belt, but she may build physical strength, increase concentration, or just have fun!

Your daughter will find her way with the help of your loving family. Just keep your ears, your mind, and your heart open and you will find lots of things your daughter is "good at".

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My 2nd son has learning disabilities so he has always suffered with low self esteem. I started looking for things he was interested in and tried to get him involved. He likes baseball so I did everything to help him with that, he enjoyed that but didn't feel real confident. Then when he was in 7th grade he asked for a guitar for Christmas and that's what he got. He has found his confidence in music. I finally found something that he could excel in and that he loves to do. He is so talented and even writes songs. Keep trying to find something. Maybe scrapbooking or other hobby that she can enjoy and feel proud of what she's done.

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I have this problem with my 7 year old. I have tried so many things. we praise and reassure all of the time. recently what worked best is before bed sitting at his level and letting him talk and instead of me saying no thats not true I would just listen and when he was done say I am sorry you feel that way. sometimes- what would make you feel better etc.. there are so many times as a mom he would say so and so doesnt like me and I would say sure they do etc.. and dismiss his feelings when I realized there are days I feel like someone doesnt like me or I would be happy or sad why cant our children feel that way?

I also had my son tested so he does have learning disabilities and despite his vision tests being 20/20 it turned out he has behavioral vision issues- unable to track and copy from the board and binocular vision making everything difficult- school and sports.

we sent my son to a psychologist at personal growth and that didnt help but we are going to try someone new at the end of the month. hopefully htis psychiatrist will be more beneficial.

the one important thing I learned from michaels neuro psych is everytime Michael says something bad about himself he has to say 3 positive things about himself.

Good luck!

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My mother put my younger sister in Karate to help boost her self-esteem. We later found out she was being sexually harrassed in school (she was in 5th grade) it was because of Karate she came out and spoke. Not saying this is your situation, but a little martial art can help her build her confidence, make friends and builed commority. My sister is 27 years old now and a little spit-fire. :)

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I'm sure there is much more to your daughter than you had room to tell about. While correcting my clients, I find 90% have a self-esteem issue with trouble academically beginning in 3rd. grade. If reading, comprehension, energy and focus control are a problem, I think I can help you. If you are interested, please call ###-###-#### and let me meet your daughter at my office in Springfiled. My initial consultations are free. I am a retired Riverton teacher of 32 years, but my method is based on fun, nothing like school. Good luck and congratualtions on your early concern in this area. Many parents wait too long. I would be happy to provide references.

Respectfully,
S. Smarjesse

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B., I will make this breaf since you have so many responses. I believe self-esteem issues when (raised in a healthy environment) are best filled when you can show a child how to serve others. Set her up to volunteer. Look at childrens hospitals (to read to them) etc. Maybe as she gets older soup kitchens etc. What this does is help the child feel greatful for their own gifts and talents and raises there self worth in where they can fit "in" over time in this great big world. She sounds like a sweet spirited little girl and believe you will see her start to blossom at the chance of helping someone else. ( i wouldnt ask her if she wants to, most kids would say no. Just set it up and do it with her) sometimes a little nudge is good. Good luck!!

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This may sound like an old fashioned responce but I would recommend that you try Girl Scouts. In her age group there is a wonderful program called Studio 2 Be and they are revamping the program even now. It is wonderful to be a part of a group but also alot of Scouting at her age is based on getting to know your strengths and making them into wonderful accomplishments. There are some wonderful programs called Issues without Tissues and many mom and daughter events for the older girls to get them talking to their moms about themselves. Please check out the Girl Scouts web site. There is even a program through Dove about getting to know your body and care for it. Also the obvious accomplishments of badges and for Juniors and Cadets and Seniors Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for long term service projects that will involve her in the community and give her reconotion and respect. I am a Girl Scout leader for a Brownie troop and I have a ten year old in a local junior troop. I can see where it has wokred to bring my shy little girl into a proud young woman.

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Yes, there is hope for your daughter. Not knowing everything I will give you my advise. Each day tell her something that she did and praise her for it. Even the smallest thing.(Thank you honey for doing that, that was so nice of you to do that) Try not to praise her too much on her looks but the praise must be truthful. If telling her is hard for you then write her a letter, a little praise goes a long way. When my children says that they can't do it, I make they say "I can do it". I also tell them that if they try and it does not work that alright, but if they don't try, they how do they know if it would work or not. And making mistakes is the way of learning.
I also have essential that might help. If you are interest in that please write back.

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Kudos to you for trying to help your daughter. Here is my .02.

1) While you are probably doing this already, play up to your daughter's strengths. Find something that she is better than her sister at and encourage that. Whether it's reading or math, science or art, sports or music. Find something that she enjoys and is good at and then try to find ways to incorporate that into her day.

2) Help her get involved in volunteering...anywhere. Whether it's working with animals, geriatrics, kids or teens. Help her find an organization that she believes in and get her helping others. She will never feel better about herself than when she is giving to others.

3) Encourage activities that help your daughter feel independent and that give her the ability to make some decisions to help empower her.

These are just a few of my thoughts. I hope that this helps.
N.

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B.,
I too have an oldest daughter with an esteem issue, Martial arts are excellent suggestion but if you have a tight budget. Give her responsibility that is only hers care of a small pet is a great way. My daughter started with a hamster and it haD made a great start. Later we then adopted a very small dog that could basically live in her room with her. She receives so much joy caring for her dog. But a call into the the school social worker could help as well. Good luck

J. O

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Hi B. i have created a program called Butterflies a self esteem progam you can email me for more information at

____@____.com

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I think Ruth had a lot of good things to say. One really good one too would be the spending time alone with your daughter. I read your bio and it said you have had a daycare for 10 years. Are many of the kids your daughters same age? Reason I ask this is I knew someone who had parents that fostered many kids (which she loved) and got along with most of the time, but when it was the same sex child close to her age, she said she was jealous and did not do well, because she did not want to share her mom with another girl, besides the biological sisters she already had. They were a large family. Maybe your daughter is seeing you like a co-parent to so many other children she feels like part of the crowd at times. I know when I did daycare I felt like at times I was harder on my own because I worried the parents would think I favored my own.

Anyway, just some thoughts I wanted to share. It sounds like you are doing a great job, I think it is great how much you care. It is so hard as they get older and they are learning to be independent and separating themselves more.

One more thing, you might want to try to find out what is going on at school. I have found Middle School to be the hardest for my children. The kids now are so critical of everything from pimples to moles. I am amazed at how the kids think we have to look so perfect. The images on tv are not helping.

Take care,
K.

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I have a 18 year daughter now and she was the same way. Take her to get her hair done and a make over, let her see herself in a different light. If she choose to be different let her be as long as she is not hurting anyone .

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I was like that when growing up. Always waiting for someone else to get started. It held me back in a lot of things until I learned failure only means try again but in another way. Lots of encouragement and telling her she can do anything, making new things into an adventure and if failing at something it doesnt mean anything. Just keep encouraging and wait patiently until she tries it. Get her opinion on how she wants to handle something first and let her know there are lots of options to get the same task accomplished. good luck

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B.,

I am a very active stepmom and to build up my stepdaughter's self esteem and self worth, I've given her projects or activities that would give her "wins under her belt". If your daughter likes drama, singing, poetry, playing a musical instrument, short story writing, and even sports are all great things to help build her confidence. We are also very vocal with appropriate praise and at times give her exercises or essays to discover and explore who she is and what her interests are. Having her write goals has also been a way for Kate to measure gains in her life.

Hope this helps!
K.
Raleigh, NC

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B. , I am L. I am a wife, a mother of 4 as well as a special ed. teacher. I've encountered students with self esteem issues and it is important to get to the root of the problem. Maybe give consent for your daughter to consult with the school's social worker. This will allow an outside view of what maybe troubling your daughter...Quite often our children find it less complexing to talk with others than they do their parents...Try and do more mother-daughter outings with your daughter...This will aid in fostering your relationship with your daughter and open the door to further communication...I try to give my children some mommy and me time (individually)...then we come together and have whole family time...My oldest daughter is 12 years old and as I drive her to school in the morning, she and talk (real talk)...I hope that some of what I have said will be beneficial...God bless you and your family

1 mom found this helpful

Do you attend a church that offers a youth group. When our son was being home schooled he attended Wednesday night programs and a youth group. Most youth groups look at each child as special and try to help build their self-esteem.

You also could home school as we did. Our son went to a private Christian school through 6th grade and we decided to bring him home to schooling him for 2 years. It was the best thing we ever did. He got caught up with anything he needed to and got a chance to grow, though events at our church and park district events (karate or dance are good one), as well as, he learned to ski and he would ski every Tuesday up a Wilmot on Home school discount day, he also played football with the Crystal Lake Raiders in 8th grade. (Raiders offers a cheer leader program also) He was very ready for High School and he made the choice to attend Public high school for the sports and choir programs. He will be graduating in June and is very self confident. We say it started with home schooling and our church.

Just an idea, since you are a SAHM.

Best Luck

1 mom found this helpful

School and looks are normal concerns for an 11 year old! We have a 6th grader who has those concerns at times, and also does gymnastics, which seems to give her something else to focus on. Does your daughter have other interests she can try-sports, music, crafts--that will provide an outlet for her energy and creativity? (and become a source of self-esteem). Sometimes it seems to take trying more than one thing.

The other thing I would say is that she has to "earn" her own accomplishments. If you praise too much, it becomes empty. Instead of praising everything, try very focused feedback, like, you really worked hard on those fractions...I bet that feels good to you. Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I was also a girl with low self-esteem and my 2 daughters had some problems with that from time to time. It's quite normal as girls start puberty. And this is all made worse by the many pressures of our culture telling them they should be someone different (look different, act different, feel different, etc.) than who they really are.

When my daughters were 11 we started a magazine together by and for girls - New Moon - it's still going strong 16 years later. Nearly all the writing is done by girls ages 8-12 and many readers tell us it helps them feel more confident and get to know their own strengths and value them more. You can find it in many bookstores and get an intro to it online.

1 mom found this helpful

Self esteem and self concept often get confused. Self esteem is what you feel about yourself. I think an important aspect to remember as a mother or teacher is self esteem comes from what a child can or cannot do for themself. You can tell a child how great they are but until they have experienced it, it is only words. Accomplishments build self esteem. Anything an adult does for a child that a child can do themselves, the adult is sending the message that you do not think the child is capable of doing it themself. This is a harsh reallity, but the truth.

1 mom found this helpful

B., you need to keep encouraging her and telling her of her worth. If you aren't already attending a good bible church I would encourage you to do that. I believe she needs nurturing from another source other than yourself. Sometimes young people don't know their own capabilities until they stray away a little from the nest. In our church the youth are a very important part of it and there are many activities that lead a young person into accountability which I believe impowers them to make good decisions and decision that always line up with God's word. School is pretty much a pressure cooker and a young person would be almost consumed by this pecking order.

I certainly hope the best for you and your family and please update as often as possible.

1 mom found this helpful

B., I too have a 11 year old. She is struggling with her self esteem also. My 12 year old has very high self esteem. I am waiting for my 11 year old to start her period. If her attitude doesn't change, I am afraid I am going to take her to a counselor.

I am surprised more people haven't brought up learning disabilities. If she is struggling in school and falling behind, then that could be it. There is nothing worse than everyone else around you getting it and you don't. If anything, that is probably what is killing her self esteem. My son has the same issues. He has ADD and dyslexia, and I am proud to say that after four hard years, he is now thriving.

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