If your child dreads going to school, you may start to think he or she is having trouble academically. However, many students dread the school day for reasons other than academic struggles. While learning issues can certainly cause students significant stress, some of the many reasons why your child dreads school may include bullying, peer pressure and tensions with friendships and dating relationships. Of course, you cannot prevent your child from encountering negative situations that come with social interactions. You can, however, take action to boost your child’s self-esteem – which will in turn change how they’re affected by the words and actions of their peers.
Here are three helpful ways to boost your child’s self-esteem and empower them to better handle social challenges they may face at school:
Encourage your child to develop hobbies and interests.
Too much time on a child’s hands can inevitably lead to problems. It’s important to encourage your child to engage in activities that interest them both in school and outside of the classroom. Not only will this give them more confidence, but it will provide them with opportunities to meet peers with similar interests and goals – fostering friendship-building in a healthy and safe environment. The more occupied your child becomes in activities and causes they care about, the more they will thrive mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Educate your child about social media’s effects.
You may very well think your child knows more about social media than you. However, knowing how to use Facebook is much different than understanding the effects it can have on one’s self-esteem – and more importantly – self-image. Though you don’t necessarily have to ban your child’s use of social media, you must educate them about false perceptions created on these platforms. For example, if your child is constantly snapping “selfies,” it may be time to sit down and reinforce to your child that superficial appearances do not define who he or she is. Being proactive about having these types of discussions will help your child view their social media usage differently.
Live by example.
When it comes to building their child’s self-esteem, sometimes parents are their worst enemies! Living by example is one of the most powerful ways you can instill self-esteem and teach your child what’s right and wrong. For example, a parent who constantly gossips about a friend is obviously setting a poor example for their child by demonstrating this behavior is OK. This can easily translate to the child thinking it’s acceptable for their own friends to behave this way to each other.
Despite all the steps you can take to elevate your child’s self-esteem, your child may benefit the most from a therapist who can work with them objectively on their issues. If your child is struggling with self-esteem issues, consider scheduling a free consultation with Joseph Montaldi, LCSW, based in San Antonio, Texas.