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Low self-esteem in boys

(7 Posts)
PhoebeMcPeePee Tue 25-Mar-14 11:07:51

I think DS (8) shows signs of having quite low self-esteem and I'm struggling to understand what may have caused this (& rectify if it's our parenting hmm) and help him out.

Am I reading him wrong - He's had various nervous tics on-and-off over the years, he often exaggerates his achievements or makes excuses/blames others for why he didn't do so well in something, struggles to apologise for anything always laying the blame elsewhere, doesn't make friends easily esp large group situations as he's very much 'my way or the highway!' I think to some he appears cocky & overly self-confident but actually he's quite shy & I know struggles with relationships at school and is happiest playing lego alone or reading which is great but I do worry that he's always brooding about something. I should say on the plus side he's bright, funny, hugely affectionate with close family, shows amazing dedication & perseverance to things he enjoys (various sports).

nicp123 Tue 25-Mar-14 13:32:12

Check how your DS is treated by the adults at school first. Ask him what type of praise/rewards he is getting when he does well, and if other pupils are bragging about materialistic things mostly. I was shocked when my son told me that his ex-teacher at his school often called a child's work 'RUBISH' and said that her class was 'the worst in the school' (discounting those kind, respectful, gentle children who were working very hard). Shocking! My son was only 9 at the time, and his self-confidence suffered since then. I was glad to see the back of her. Although she left last year, my son's confidence is still low. I cannot believe how much damage she made. I had my DS independently assessed just to give him some more reassurance. He knows that he is above average academically. Unfortunately I cannot control what is going on in the classroom, he is a very gentle person...the school environment not great so he is not enthusiastic anymore. It is breaking my heart to see his body language when collecting him. Three times change of teachers in his class this year didn't help...made it worst! Good luck to you... there might be many things triggering your son's self-esteem.

avocadosandwich Tue 25-Mar-14 13:39:54

What do his teachers think? Also worth bearing in mind that in some areas, there are 'confidence classes' for kids - one is coming up at our school for boys age 7-11. Might be something that the school would be able to point you towards. You mention that he's very sporty; does he have a particular hobby that you could build up to encourage his confidence?

Soveryupset Tue 25-Mar-14 14:04:48

We have this exact same issue with our 7 year old son, he has suddenly lost all confidence and we have a gut feeling is to do with the extreme lack of praise he gets in school, although as a parent you always wonder if you are doing something wrong at home too.

I am not sure how to go about improving things for him, to be honest, I am hoping that a change of school next year will help - but I will be watching this thread with great interest.

RaisinBoys Tue 25-Mar-14 14:28:51

Sounds like my DS. Now in last year of primary and in the last 2 years he has matured and blossomed. He now recognises and can celebrate his achievements and most importantly can ride any disappointments. He wears his heart on his sleeve so this is a work in progress. (We got some external advice and certain developmental causes were explored in y4. Conclusion - nothing wrong with him. )

He and some of his male peers are acutely aware of the fact that primary schools are organised in such a way that they suit girls better. He tells me that the boys are treated differently; more likely to be punished for the same 'offences' that are overlooked in the girls, girls' achievements more celebrated, etc. Definitely worth speaking to school as this is often unconscious.

We worked on developing his confidence and resilience. We continue to do this. He also joined Cubs & now Scouts. Important for him to know that he can find validation and acceptance outside of school.

Hope this isn't too preachy. Good luck!

PS. The books & Lego fab! We're drowning in both. As a direct consequence our boy is a "gifted reader and writer" says his teacher. A source of great pride for him, so no bad thing!

LizzyButtons Tue 25-Mar-14 17:05:52

Hi, Phoebe, just to let you know, my son is having similar issues, hardly any praise, from what he tells me, merits and assembly awards given to everyone else, he's seven and very confused by this set up. If a child is working to the best of their abilities and they must hand out rewards, they should be fair about it, as it has a definite psychological impact on my child. Last week he came home saying he was 'rubbish'. The schools make a big enough fuss drafting in educational psychologist's when they see fit, but I'm sure certain system's within a school cause a lot of psychological damage themselves. I am quite appalled by it really. It seems like a big contradiction and one that needs addressing. No child should be made to feel inadequate. All children deserve praise, not just a select amount. A lot of emphasis is put on the home environment.I've always made sure my son feels special and valued and the school has done quite a good job of undoing all my hard work. He has many areas of potential but if they don't fit a particular 'box', this is the result. It's disgraceful in my opinion and the whole system is a working against many children. But the blame is always conveniently placed on the parents.

PhoebeMcPeePee Tue 25-Mar-14 17:46:22

Interesting replies & a lot to think about re: school (not helped by one of his few good friends moving schools after Easterhmm). He has previously moaned about naughty/more boisterous children being rewarded for what he (quite rightly) perceives as normal behaviour & I have raised this with school but they assured me this wasn't the norm etc etc. will definitely keep an eye in this & have a gentle word with him about what(if any) rewards or recognition he has had.

He LOVES sport & thankfully has found one he's rather good at, but this isn't a conventional/school sports which he's very average at (although so far this hasn't deterred him from continuing which is great!!)

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