Signs of Low Self-Esteem in Children

What parents should look for and how to help their children.

ByABC News via GMA logo
February 22, 2010, 10:28 PM

Feb. 23, 2010— -- There are a number of factors that can contribute to low self-esteem in children, including height, as Dr. Richard Besser reported today on "Good Morning America."

Good self-esteem is an important factor in raising healthy children. Children who have good self-esteem are more likely to act independently, handle both positive and negative emotions, assume responsibility and appropriately handle peer pressure, according to the National Mental Health Information Center at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Additionally people with good self-esteem are more likely to create healthy, secure and honest relationships and are less likely to develop eating disorders, depression or other mental health conditions according to the Mayo Clinic.

Below are some tips to help you identify if your child has low self-esteem and what you can do to help him or her.

According to KidsHealth, part of the Nemours Foundation, a child's self-esteem changes as he or she grows up. But the organization has a few signs parents should look for:

Challenges can become a source of anxiety for children with self-esteem problems. The children are usually easily frustrated, want to give up and make negative statements about themselves, such as "I'm stupid."

The foundation also says children with low self-esteem are usually pessimistic, do not want to try new things and are highly critical of themselves.

Click here to read Dr. Besser's story on "Your Family's Health: Kids and Height"

Affection and spontaneity can also help your son or daughter's self-esteem, according to KidsHealth.

Laugh at yourself. Demonstrating to your children that it is OK to laugh at yourself shows the importance of a sense of humor, according to National Mental Health Information Center.

The center also advises helping your child re-think things in a positive way instead of focusing negative feelings on themselves.

Have your children take responsibility for their own problems. You can help them think of other solutions and answer their questions, but solving a problem can bolster your child's confidence, according to National Mental Health Information Center.

KidsHealth also suggested seeking professional help for your son or daughter's self-esteem problems.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.