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Building self esteem in 6yo DD / dealing with jealousy

(8 Posts)
Neon1077 Sat 07-May-16 02:17:36

My DD showed her first signs of jealousy yesterday when I spent time helping her friend at our house. DD was very tired which is why it came out but I was very surprised when she said she felt I was paying more attention to her friend and she didn't feel loved by me (at that moment). To put into context DD is a very kind child who is quiet and hard working and who isn't prone to tantrums although I question how much she internalises things.

As a parent I want to instil self esteem and confidence and reading up on jealousy indicates it is partly to do with low self esteem - although appreciate this may be more aimed at adults.

So my question is in two parts - have you experienced anything similar in your child of a similar age?

How do you build self esteem and confidence in your children of 6/7 years?

Aussiebean Sat 07-May-16 03:13:06

Can't help with the jealousy but suggest you give her challenging but achievable fun activities to do.

That would help self esteem

RickOShay Sat 07-May-16 08:56:42

Give her opportunities to express her feelings, and listen without judgment when she talks, don't give advice, but empathise, so when she said she felt bad about you being with her pal, don't say 'don't be silly dd, you know I love you the best', but say 'oh I understand how you feel, must have been hard for you, but I do love you the best'.
It is important for her to respect her own feeling, even and especially negative ones, as we all feel bad about ourselves for feeling jealous, angry, frustrated etc, and we need ways of coping with both the feeling and then the subsequent feeling of being a bad person.

Neon1077 Sat 07-May-16 08:56:54

Thanks for your message. She is very academic and doesn't enjoy sports as such (although she enjoys swimming). I'm very aware that although I praise her for school work I also need to praise her for her behaviour rather than results.

I could ask her to help around the house (which I've read is good for building SE) but I know she will find this boring after a week and not want to do it. I'm trying to teach her the value of money and she sometimes gets to keep small change from when we buy something or gets £1 from her grandparents. Should i start rewarding her with pocket money or is that defeating the purpose?

TeapotDictator Sat 07-May-16 09:48:35

It's completely normal for a 6 year old to express feelings like this and I think it's slightly odd that you take this one instance of jealousy to infer that she has a problem with her self-esteem.

I have six year old girl twins and hear them saying things like this all the time; they are constantly saying that I don't love them if I tell them off, that I must love her sister more than her, asking do I love the kitten more than I love them, etc etc. They are testing boundaries and exploring the world; I try to turn it into a lighthearted conversation so we end up laughing about it, wrapped up in a cuddle and a kiss, rather than being all earnest about it.

I do have slight self-esteem concerns about one of my girls, but we are experiencing friendship and settling problems at school with her and I think it's more of a twin issue as her sister is highly sociable and popular and she feels the contrast.

You are right that helping around the house helps with socialisation and confidence, and is to be encouraged. My forays into pocket money have largely ended up irritating me in that they start becoming obsessed with doing tiny jobs to earn money, so I've decided to start giving them a small amount of pocket money soon, but separately to that give them jobs to do around the house, so that the two are not linked.

corythatwas Sat 07-May-16 11:01:55

I am thinking the same as Teapot here. Do you feel that it is your duty as a parent to keep her so completely on track that she never experiences any of the more unpleasant feelings or impulses of human nature? Remember, she might be aware of these expectations and be worried about expressing anything that isn't perfectly happy and balanced.

So to answer the question, of course jealousy isn't a nice thing and everybody needs to learn to get a handle on it. But the best way to learn is by experiencing it and then managing it. Your dd didn't do anything mean to her friend, she didn't do anything to get back at you, she told you how she felt- I'd say she is already handling it in a very good way. Learning to express your feelings (rather than feeling guilty about having them) is an excellent life skill. You don't have to rush in and manage her whole life so she never feels hard done by again: it's a normal part of life.

Neon1077 Sat 07-May-16 12:22:27

Oh no not at all, I think experiencing these things is healthy. I'm of the same mindset that I want her to recognise feelings and learn to manage them. I certainly don't want to wrap her in cotton wool. She is a sensitive child and I want to make sure as a parent I don't make the mistake of doing things in a way that damages self esteem (unknowingly). I haven't taken this one instance and thought there was a problem with jealously, I simply want to bring up my child with good self esteem and confidence which is why I thought I'd ask on here for what others do.

Your point about expecting money is a good point and one I hadn't considered so with that in mind I won't make the link either.

corythatwas Sat 07-May-16 12:34:11

That sounds good, Neon; it's often difficult to know with an OP, you don't have the whole context.

We did the same as Teapot re pocket money; gave a small amount every week unconnected with chores. We did it on a gradually rising scale until the start of secondary, then a monthly allowance. Apart from teaching them they are expected to help out anyway because they live in the house, we also found having a regular amount taught them about planning their spending.

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