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Low self esteem - help!!

(22 Posts)
Lara2 Sun 25-Apr-04 20:17:41

DS2 is 7 (very young 7) and has a huge low self esteem problem. It's totally heart breaking to see my gorgeous boy who is happy and boisterous at home, become withdrawn, unhappy and unwilling to join in anything outside. His teacher has said that it's affecting his work and that he has made no relationships with any of the adults in school this year at all. I feel it started last year when he had a hideous teacher, and looking back wonder if the constipation problem he had last summer term wasn't due to stess at school. He is so loved and cuddled, praised, encouraged and I'm desperately worried about him. Does anyone else have a child like this? I'm really trying to encourage him to join in activities outside school, but he gets all enthusiastic about them before we arrive, and then stands still, head hung down refusing to join in. This happened this morning at football - run by his best mate's dad, who knows about the problem and was great. Should I persevere and see if he will join in for 5 or 10 mins to start, or knock it on the head?

grumpyzebra Sun 25-Apr-04 21:16:02

sorry I don't much helpful to say, myself. Are you sure that something else hasn't happened to knock his self-esteem? I'm just surprised that a teacher could have that much influence (mine didn't on me, that's all...)

Soapbox Sun 25-Apr-04 21:21:54

Are you absolutely sure he is not being bullied - this sounds like a kind of depression/anxiety thing rather than just low self-esteem.

At seven though I would say the onus should be on the teachers to reach out to him and build relationships if it does not come naturally to him. Can you go and talk to the headteacher about it?

I'm sorry you are going through this - you must be desperately worried about him.

baldrick Sun 25-Apr-04 22:01:56

Lara2, I can understand where you're coming from, although my dd, 7 1/2 has friends now for the 3 years she has spent many playtimes on her own, feeling very lonely....she is such a loving and affectionate child...but she the things she says sometimes make me believe that she has low self esteem...she says things like I am worthless, I am useless...she is a very passionate child who expresses every thing that she is only in the last 6 months that she has become settled...she's a strong character and some children don't play with her and she is bothered by that...Has your ds always been withdrawn at home or is it quite recent? dd did football too and I paid for the whole term, and then what happened, after HALF AN HOUR she wanted to go home, never to do it again....Please don't think I am asking too many questions but has he found what he really loves to do? Only reason I ask is because dd did ballet, football and was so unenthusiastic and it was because she loved horses....please keep posting, would love to help you here

Lara2 Wed 28-Apr-04 18:29:51

Only just found the time to get back on the computer since Sunday. Thanks for your replies.
Soapbox - his teacher said he's not being bullied and that he has 2 very close friends (who do come to play/tea and visa versa), but he's unwilling to try new/unfamiliar things. I don't want to talk to the headteacher because quite frankly, she's lost the plot!! I used to work for her and know her well enough to know that she would do nothing except sympathise and be useless. baldrick, that all sounds so familiar. We tried karate (with older brother) but he hated it, wanted to do piano and hated it, asked to go to Beavers and when we spoke to the leader(who is JUST fab)he became withdrawn and said he'd changed his mind. I think I might just pesevere with this one, and if he hates it, then he doesn't have to be invested. He loves swimming - but only with me and his brother - won't go near a group! What did you do when she wouldn't do things? I do think that part of the problem is anxiety as Soapbox suggested, but no matter how much you prepare him for something, it seems to make no difference. I'm prepared to keep trying things and discover that he's a child who just doesn't do joining.

lars Wed 28-Apr-04 18:54:15

Lara2, I do fully understand what your going through. My ds who is 6 has the same problem at school at home he is fine. They think a change of school my have affected my ds. Although I've had bad behaviour at school as well not conforming, etc. Bascially wouldn't communicate with the adults and found it difficult to form friendships or not choosing to form friendships with his peers. Ds is under going an assessment, due to his behaviour, etc.
BTW I just wanted to add there is a behaviour called selective mutism. Bascially means child very intelligent but just selecting not to talk or join in activities in groups or PE at school.
They select who they want to talk to. It really means a painfully shy child, shyer then most.
I would speak to the S.E N.C.O at your school they will be able to help and should be suggesting ways to help your child at school. My ds is forming a bond with the senco and is talking to her now. She said ds is also particular about who he plays with, which is most interesting. Also lara2 is there a history of shyness in the family ? keep us posted larsxx

pickledbeetle Wed 28-Apr-04 19:00:20

I have 2 boys, both much loved and happy at home. Both found it difficult to integrate in activities outside home initially. The younger, now almost 9, has only started being more confident in the last 16 months. Before that he wouldn't even go out for tea alone! (He did change schools at end of Yr 2 which I think helped.) Essentially just immature and lacking in confidence. No-one who knows him now can believe how he once was!

kalex Wed 28-Apr-04 19:27:27

Have to say, you could be speaking about me, apart from the problem is with my dd. She is just 6 and is not the same happy confident child that I sent to school last summer. Have approached the class teacher 3 times and the headmistress once. It breaks my heart when she says that she hates school and doesnt want to go. She did not have a single day off nursery, but constantly complains about sore heads and tummyaches now, Have decided that really giving in to her on these is a bad road to be going down, but feel like the mother from hell when sending her off like this. Have started asking a friend that she does really gel with & someone else that she thinks she would like at the same time, to play. in order to broaden her circle. School have said that they will "raise her profile" !!!?? in the classroom, but will follow thread with interest as beginning to feel very desperate that this could be a self perpetuating cycle and she has a long school life to go!

lars Wed 28-Apr-04 20:33:30

Message for kalex, it's interesting that you said that your dd was ok at nursery but school she is unhappy. Yes my ds also 6 liked nursery but not school. Child therapist involved with my ds think that the schools are pushing our young children too much causing alot of problems of not conforming,etc.
Nursery is very 'play' where as school is very 'structured'in other words they have to work alot harder for longer periods of time.
I was told that some children just found this very difficult to except the change and it's becoming more common amongst our young. I think schools/policies are expecting far too much of them. What do you think ? larsxx

aloha Wed 28-Apr-04 21:28:30

Hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but are you sure he has low self esteem and isn't just a bit quiet, introverted and shy? I mean, does he think he is awful and useless, or does he just find social situations rather overwhelming? Not everyone can be the life and soul - or wants to be. Does he genuinely seem unhappy? One or two friends sounds OK to me.

twogorgeousboys Wed 28-Apr-04 22:20:27

Lara2 and kalex

School can be a very bewildering place for young children - Reception, Y1, 2 & 3 are very different to nursery and its little wonder that some children find the adjustment hard.

My computer is playing up so can't give you the direct link for this, but go to:

click on the link about "circle time" and you will find info about enhancing childrens self esteem in the classroom/school.

I've taught quite a few really shy children with low self esteem and just as they are nurtured at home, they need nurturing at school too. The stuff on this website outlines some of the approaches I have used and its been great to see a child's self confidence among their peers gradually blossoming.

Ask for an appointment with the class teacher and talk through some of the ideas; some can be done in partnership with you at home eg a book entitled "All About Me".

Nice teachers (like me!) are always happy to talk through things that are concerning parents and shouldn't feel you are trying to tell them how to do their job.

Lara2 Sat 08-May-04 22:43:55

Thanks for all the replies. aloha - you aren't speaking out of turn at all, it really bothers me because his teacher says it is affecting his work. He hates school so much and I'm hoping that maybe the change to Junior school will help. I'm doing some training for them soon and will definately chat to the Head about my concerns. twogorgeousboys, I'm an infant teacher too (did something wicked in a previous life??), but when it comes to my own son I'm at a loss! How pathetic is that??? I've decided not to push any outside activities for a while - bob along and see how things develop. Doing things with the family and close friends is probably what he really needs at the moment - not a big panic from me!

twogorgeousboys Sat 08-May-04 23:36:02

Lara 2 - now you've told me you're a fellow KS1 teacher with a previous life I can cut to the chase! Your theory about a hideous teacher having something to do with it sounds spot on to me.

Also sounds as though bobbing along for a bit is a good idea - hope things work out.

Lara2 Fri 14-May-04 19:40:40

So now I have a letter from his teacher asking me to come to school to "discuss some behaviour issues that have arisen." WHAT behaviour issues??? The Head wants to sit in on the meeting. WHY write me a letter on a Friday and let me stew all weekend, being really worried?!!! DS2 won't tell me what has happened, just that he and 2 friends had to eat their lunch in the Head's room. He said that they made him sad and they were falling out. I know what will happen - I'll worry all weekend (on top of a shitty week at work!) only to be told that "Oh, it's nothing much! You shouldn't have worried!" AAAGGGRRRHHHHH!!!!! Know I'm totally over reacting, but SO pissed off and worried!
Am going out to a friend's house in about 10 mins - thanks for listening, whoever is there.

kalex Fri 14-May-04 20:02:59

B******ds B*******ds B******Ds. They know they have the upper hand because we want the very best for our kids and they know when to play it,

telling you not to worry will not work, I would be out of my head, but your son sounds like a really nice little boy.

Big Hugs ((()))

lars Fri 14-May-04 20:03:38

Lara2, try not let it spoil your weekend .
If it was that bad you will of be called to the school/phone call to meet with the head that day. I know i have had calls even at work, mind you put them wise to that as I got really fed up with it.
Don't worry too much!! larsxx

Pook Fri 14-May-04 20:08:32


I've aboslutely nothing to add to the other suggestions you've had. I just really really hope that the meeting goes well, and that you manage to put it to the back of your mind over the weekend.

When I was little I jumped from hobby to hobby - ballet for 2 weeks, brownies for a month, guides for 1 night! My problem was that I loved adult company and my family and I think that I found it difficult to "fit in" with a lot of other little girls. I have a lisp and talked posh (not anymore!), and that didn't help - big hurdle to leap over whenever meeting new people.

I hope it all goes well.

aloha Fri 14-May-04 20:09:18

If he's happy at home and unhappy at school then it seem to be commonsensical to say that the 'problem' is with the school and not inherent in your son. He sounds like a lovely boy - a bit shy and quiet but that isn't a crime - who isn't having his needs met at school. Certainly NOT your fault.

aloha Fri 14-May-04 20:10:54

BTW it sounds to me (sorry if I'm wrong) as if maybe your ds is trying to say the other boys were bullying him a bit. Wonder if you could draw him out a bit over the w/e?

kalex Tue 18-May-04 18:38:30


How did it go?

essbee Tue 18-May-04 19:09:49

Message withdrawn

Lara2 Thu 20-May-04 20:02:33

Thanks for all your messages. Went to a meeting on Tuesday - the Head had been called away and it was his teacher and the deputy - the hideous old crone from last year. My heart sank. It turned out to be serious . My poor little boy has been head banging, rocking and "rubbing himself on furniture". I presume they didn't mean his hands!!! This has been going on for 3 weeks !!!!! Oh and he's been getting stroppy with dinner ladies saying things like "You're not the boss of me" and swearing. When I asked what he'd been saying - he called his friend a git! I did smile at that - not the worst thing to say - and definately not swearing in my house!! Basically, they have shrugged their shoulders and said they don't know what to do. I did point out that it must be school that is causing these problems, as they haven't manifested themselves at home at all. No joy. I got quite cross and said that I would go to my GP and ask to be referred to someone. I came away feeling very let down and loads of things occurred to me afterwards too. I've made an appointment to chat things over with my GP and will go and talk to the Head next week and chuck the ball back into her court. They ARE responsible for him being so stressed and sad - they WILL deal with this!

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