Childhood is not just the stage where we learn the fastest how the world works; moreover, it is in this first phase of life that our self-concept is configured for the first time, that is to say all the knowledge and beliefs about the “I” and all that. implies: who we are, what we like, what we are capable of, etc.
However, this is not a process of pure objective knowledge extraction. In addition to these ideas that we internalize about who we are as individuals, we also associate a whole host of emotions and feelings with all facets of our “I”; that is, everything we know or think we know about ourselves has a strong emotional charge that affects us, whether we like it or not. And in childhood, it is relatively easy for us to deal with these emotions or to build a faulty and dysfunctional self-concept about our identity.
This is why many boys and girls who undergo psychotherapy have some sort of self-esteem problem. It is a phenomenon which, if not treated in time, can lead to a difficult adult life; how much of what we do on a day to day basis depends on our idea of ourselves, if it fails it will surely fail a lot of our patterns of behavior. Here we will see a summary of the most common types of self-esteem issues in childhood, As well as some advice on how to proceed.
The most typical childhood self-esteem issues
The way children think, feel and behave are governed by their own rules, which makes it difficult for many parents to understand, especially the type of psychological issues that can arise in the child. Here is a summary of what they have to do with self-esteem.
1. Complexes by nicknames and labels
Many boys and girls receive “labels” from others that they are uncomfortable with. For example, “the ignorant”, “the manaire”, etc. In fact, it is often adults or even family members who use these names. It is important to avoid them so that children do not believe that these adjectives limit the range of behaviors and skills they can expect of themselves.
2. Self-acceptance conflicts due to gender roles
Unfortunately, Self-acceptance issues and insecurities resulting from not fully adjusting to gender roles remain a reality in people of all ages; this means, for example, that some boys may end up developing low self-esteem mainly due to relationships with boys, or that some girls are socially “punished” for speaking confidently and not being afraid of managerial positions.
In such situations it is necessary to try to let them know that if this kind of social pressure to adapt to certain attitudes and tasks exists, it is not what to aspire to, and that the problem is not. is not in itself but in the prejudices. of some people around him.
3. Jealousy between brothers
Just because you have a little brother or sister does not imply that rivalry has to appear. or self-esteem issues arising from comparison with others; however, it is true that it is not uncommon for this to happen.
This may be due, for example, to not accepting or understanding very well that the little one receives more attention from the elderly (especially in their first months of life), or seeing that the brother or the older sister can do things that one is not yet authorized to do.
In such cases, it is important to dedicate at least one lecture designed specifically so that you understand that these types of experiences do not reflect what each is worthBut they only stem from the stage of growth and protection that each child needs, and not so much from personal merits. It is also good for them to know that at their age a difference of only a few months can become very significant, while in adulthood it is not.
4. Low self-esteem due to feelings of loneliness
Some boys and girls have trouble making friends, and the resulting loneliness makes them think they’re worth little.
In such cases, it is necessary to make them understand that having a difficulty in a specific area of their life (engaging in conversations with other children whom they do not know well, for example) does not sum up. their identity, and that behind a very specific type of problem, it is possible to find a whole series of situations and experiences in which one can develop well. This will serve as a motivation for them to deal with their insecurities and gradually hone their social skills.
Of course it is advisable not to let them face this without help; if necessary, seek psychotherapeutic help so that the child learns to manage anxiety resulting from social interactions and to improve his communication skills.
5. External non-validation issues
Even in boys and girls who regularly and closely interact with other children their age, they may experience discomfort because in these groups they feel ignored or notice that they are not being considered in the process. decision-making to actively participate in games, etc.
These types of situations are complex (like all we’ve seen so far, to a greater or lesser extent), they need to be analyzed individually, but one thing that usually goes well is encouraging the little one not to. be satisfied with no group. friends; often the main problem is to believe that it is necessary to belong to a certain social circle at all costs, when there are others in which one can easily feel accepted.
6. Self-esteem issues arising from violent situations
We can not ignore that sometimes the problems of self-esteem they come from experiences in which we have felt very vulnerable and helplessAnd during childhood we are especially prone to going through situations like this given our need for protection, both physical and emotional. Faced with this kind of problem, it is very important to seek psychological help as soon as possible.
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If you are looking for psychological assistance or educational support services from professionals, contact us. Fr Nanda Center we are specialized in psychotherapy, speech therapy and psychopedagogy and school reinforcement. You can find us in Sabadell; to see our contact details, go to this page.
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