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WWYD - DD crippled with no confidence

(25 Posts)
queenofshihtzus Tue 14-Mar-17 20:07:38

I'm at the end of my tether. My DD is 8. She was a very confident baby and toddler but this has nose dived, mainly since starting school. She's been bullied so badly I changed schools and then we moved with DHs job so she's on her third school. I've tried everything I can to help her - she's doing martial arts and gymnastics to help her. She has very low self esteem. She worries about her weight. All of her worries are unjustified. She is clever, pretty and very able (and slim for what it's worth).

Tonight at gymnastics class she needed to loo but held on as she was concentrating. Eventually she went to the loo but by the time she had found the light and got her leotard off she couldn't hold on and wet her self. This happened in the cubicle but the door was open as I was trying to help her. Two other girls from the group saw what had happened and were sniggering at her. I told them to stop it and took DD home to sort her out. Obviously she's mortified. I've tried to reassure her but it's made no difference. She's refusing to go back next week.

I feel like I'm fighting a loosing battle. I don't know how to help her. I have no support network, it's just me and dh works away a lot.

Whatsername17 Tue 14-Mar-17 20:18:45

A kid a taught was similar. Her mum booked a photo shoot- one of those pamper type ones and it really gave her a boost. You need to continually praise her, as sincerely as possible. Little things like telling her that her hair looks nice, praising a piece of homework etc. As often as possible. Never criticise. The danger is that if you keep telling her what she needs to do to be more confident then she will feel like she's failing and her self esteem will be even more damaged. Don't make her go back to gymnastics if she doesn't want too. Try and model confidence too. Telling her about your own insecurities will help - things like; I hate giving presentations at work because its scary.How do you think I could get over that? Grandma says I should picture people naked!

Ebbenmeowgi Tue 14-Mar-17 20:37:39

Would she consider going to a drama class? They often really improve kids confidence.

Sunshineandlaughter Tue 14-Mar-17 20:40:44

Eek no a drama class full of confident types surely has to be worst thing for her?!
I would second praise her loads and loads. Also speak to her teachers. And build one on obs friendships for her - for example is there anyone in the gymnastics class she gets on with? If so can you arrange a play date or outing before the next class so she can feel she has friends there?

Sunshineandlaughter Tue 14-Mar-17 20:42:16

And yes re weight - do you worry about yours? If you have s healthy attitude towards food then she will learn it too.

Maisy84 Tue 14-Mar-17 20:43:25

That sounds tough, I don't have any real advice but I was really unconfident at that age for similar reasons, I'm now in a career that demands a lot of socialising / presentations etc and genuinely consider myself a happy and confident person so don't feel like this is causing lasting damage. Maybe give her a bit of control and don't push her to go back to gym is she isn't ready, just listen to her.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 14-Mar-17 20:44:47

Poor little soul. My dd is nine, also lacks confidence. LAMDA lessons ( poetry recitation and prose reading, less "showy" than drama lessons) and also singing lessons have helped. Really don't think the pampering idea is at all healthy if she is starting to focus on appearances- I hate that stuff for little girls. They have their entire adulthood to have beauty products flogged to them.

Miniwookie Tue 14-Mar-17 20:45:21

Drama isn't just full of confident types. I was very shy, but loved drama as a child and it definitely helped my confidence.

WombOfOnesOwn Tue 14-Mar-17 20:50:27

Gymnastics classes are the worst for this. Girls of not too much older than your daughter's age are shunted out of gymnastics for being "too fat" when really they've just gone through some of a very normal puberty process. Because of this pressure, ballet and gymnastics lead to the girls who "won the genetic lottery" getting snotty and cruel to girls who didn't. She needs some hobbies that don't involve frequent sexual abuse and eating disorders (I speak from experience, unfortunately) -- what other clubs and activities does she belong to?

queenofshihtzus Tue 14-Mar-17 21:02:39

Thanks for your suggestions. She has dropped out of brownies and point blank refuses to go to hockey. She has started martial arts but other than that and gym, she refuses to do anything sad

She has an older brother aged 12. He has ASD and he takes a lot of my time - puberty, transition to secondary school etc. I know this and I'm doing my best to make a fuss of DD - just time for us together etc but it doesn't help. School know but they've been less than useless.

Bloopbleep Tue 14-Mar-17 21:04:46

I agree that drama is great for confidence. The Brownies is also really good for fostering respectful relationships between the girls.

Toomuchnoise97 Tue 14-Mar-17 21:08:53

Drama is amazing! Really helped my very anxious DD and she has blossomed with confidence since starting..
Give it a shot.
Started my DD with a weeks summer school and she loved it so joined the regular Saturday class.

cheersbye Tue 14-Mar-17 21:12:12

Does she like singing? I was quite shy but loved choir because there isn't a focus on the individual, you're all doing something together.

Littlefish Tue 14-Mar-17 21:13:40

What does she like doing? When my dd lost her confidence, we let her do the things she loved and was good at (music and sport) as often as possible and she gradually built up her confidence from those activities.

Whatsername17 Tue 14-Mar-17 21:37:16

Teacher of Drama here: I agree it's brilliant for confidence.

IadoreEfteling Tue 14-Mar-17 21:44:06

I think acting op - is the key here. Its what I would do with any shy child and indeed look how many actors claim to have been bullied!

Acting, small group - maybe one on one, essential though and will all about her.

Witchend Tue 14-Mar-17 22:14:23

My dd has anxiety and is also missing a hand, and her gym has been amazing with her. So you can't blame gym as an entirety. It's a case of finding one that's supportive.

As someone who's involved in am dram (chaperone, not on stage) I would advise going carefully. It's touted on here as the cure for lack of confidence, and, don't get me wrong, it can be for some children-I have three very shy children all of whom will get up on a stage in front of 100s of people without a qualm. They'd rather get up on stage in the Albert Hall and sing a solo than say "hello" to the child they see every day.

But not all children do find that. We've had children through for whom it really is painful for them. We do everything we can to help them, but for some it really is agonising in all ways and it doesn't necessarily improve with time either.

You also find am dram attracts those parents, who unfortunately tend to have those children, who can be very intimidating for a shy child.

I'd recommend looking at things that are not so competitive, and more about working together. Brownies, woodland folk-what about the junior version of St John's ambulance? Let her find her niche and run with it.

For the wetting herself-any child of that age would be very horrified. I think there's a story of Shirley Temple doing similar. She describes it as "the accident was no Oscar performance; my reappearance was" or something similar.

WobblyLegs5 Tue 14-Mar-17 22:17:04

Horse riding is amazing, especially for girls who need a confidence boost. It's one of the few sports that remains accessible to girls as they hit preteen/teenage body concious years because you don't need to look good, be skinny or wear skimpy clothes to ride a horse.

ViveLesVacances Tue 14-Mar-17 22:18:44

Brownies? They tend to be good at making a safe space and slowly building confidence.

GerrardWinstanley Tue 14-Mar-17 22:23:46

I second the horse riding suggestion. It has done wonders for my 9yos confidence.

Sunshineandlaughter Tue 14-Mar-17 22:26:53

Yes horse riding a good idea.

Foxysoxy01 Tue 14-Mar-17 22:27:29

Singing lessons/drama lessons would probably be really beneficial.

Horse riding would also be really good to build confidence and self esteem, eventually she could help out at the stables and find horsey friends.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 14-Mar-17 22:30:35

I have to say that I think two extra curricular activities for a child who is lacking in confidence and sounds quite anxious is plenty. Dropping Brownies doesn't seem like the end of the world?

That's a real shame about gym and understandable embarrassment about wetting herself. Is there a different option for gym nearby?

My DC seem ok on confidence so no direct personal experience, but I've supported friends with similar issues and patience seems to be the key - not pushing, offering constant support and letting the child lead?

It sounds very hard flowers.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 14-Mar-17 22:31:42

Can you find someone that does CBT for kids?

FaithAgain Tue 14-Mar-17 22:31:42

It's interesting that you say her brother has ASD. Have you/anyone else ever considered that your DD might too? It can present very differently in girls. I ask because this sounds a lot like me as a child, okay when I was younger then lost confidence into junior school age. I was diagnosed with ASD as an adult. I found doing performing arts helped me. I hope you find ways to help her, bless her.

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