Lack of Confidence

May 4, 2008 – 7:21 pm

Children who lack confidence can appear shy and may avoid social situations. They are often self-critical as well as self-conscious and tend to believe that other children are laughing at them or dislike them. As a result they withdraw from any experience or circumstance that might result in them feeling embarrassed or scared or they act in a hostile way to their peers.

Misunderstood by others

Other children may see those who lack confidence as unfriendly or odd which is tragic, as often they desperately want to relate but are reluctant to make the first move.

Bullying is often a direct result of lack of confidence as children who feel bad about themselves are often picked on; paradoxically they can also be the ones who do the bullying!

Parents can help

In order to encourage your child to gain more self-confidence try to get them involved with other people with children of the same age. Invite them to your home and model sociability so that they see how it is done. Get them interested in a new hobby or interest or a skill that could help to ease them into some group activity. Show your approval of even their smallest efforts by putting drawings on the wall etc.

Practise with them how they might strike up a conversation with a would-be friend. Praise every little advance and then praise it again. Deal with setbacks pragmatically ‘OK, you didn’t manage it today. We’ll do it again tomorrow’. Share the secret that in order to seem confident we have to act in a confident manner, even if we are shaking inside. “Smile when you’re scared” is good advice but it needs practice.

Lack of confidence may be caused by

  • Parental separation
  • Bereavement
  • Older sibling leaving home
  • Over-critical adults
  • Bullying
  • Physical impairment

See the Success Story Therapy Dog Helps Confidence.

  1. 2 Responses to “Lack of Confidence”

  2. How can I raise my daughters self esteem? My 11 year old recently started secondary school and is not exactly over joyed by the experience! She has a long day and is exhausted and often makes comments about how “rubbish” she is at this and that. None of the above causes are relevant to her and she has a very supportive, encouraging family and extended family. She is a very talented girl and has wonderful social skills with many people commenting to her about how delightful and talented she is, yet she seems to dwell on the things she finds more difficult and ignore all the praise she receives.

    Any tips??

    We have tried so hard to encourage her with love, hugs, praise and we have always told both our girls how proud we are of them.

    By Susie on Jan 25, 2011

  3. Hi Susie sorry to hear your daughter is finding transition to secondary school difficult. It is important not to under-estimate the profound changes that have taken place in her life over the last few months. Moving from being the top class in what is usually a much smaller Primary to being in the youngest class in a large Secondary can be very demoralising. There are so many bigger kids, the work is much harder and she is comparing herself to a different set of people now. The abilities which she took for granted at her previous school may no longer seem special to her.

    I guess that at present she doesn’t feel she belongs in this new school and wishes she could turn back the clock. You are doing all the right things by encouraging her and giving out love and praise so I suggest you also work on helping to feel PART OF the school. Can you get her involved in some fun activities that are part of school life?

    Let her say what she wants about how she feels without interruption, reassurance or contradiction. This may get to the bottom of where her insecurity about her abilities comes from. Are there new girls that she has now met that are putting her down or putting her talents in the shade?

    If you are still concerned, then I suggest you have a quiet word with her form teacher to see if there are any issues they’ve picked up.
    Hope this helps.

    By Sue Twort on Jan 26, 2011

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