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Ideas for raising self esteem

(22 Posts)
claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:04:51

Ds has been extremely down lately and a few weeks back was at rock bottom. His mood has finally started to lift.

Things i have been doing

1. We start each morning and end each day with a big hug.

2. Praise whenever i can

3. Giving ds 'little jobs' to do, such as giving the cats some biscuits, helping to unload the dishwasher or putting items into the recycling etc.

4. Each night i encourage ds to try and think of one thing he has been good at that day, if he cannot think of anything i refer back to the 'little jobs' or the picture he drew or how helpful he has been etc.

Any other ideas?

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 20-Nov-12 09:15:19

Sounds like you're doing all the right things. Is there anything he's interested in that you could encourage, e.g. learning an instrument, learning to swim etc.

Apologies if that's a stupid or insensitive suggestion, I'm afraid I don't know your situation.

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:46:45

Bluebird, thanks, that is a bit too 'advanced' for ds at the moment, but something i will be working towards. He doesnt want to leave the house at the moment, or gets extremely stressed if we do, even for thngs with high motivators.

He was doing so well previously and we had even managed to overcome his water phobia and we were going swimming once a week. We did try this, but it was too much for ds to handle at the moment, we had to leave the pool, shortly after arriving.

Same as the little social club ds has attended for years, he wanted to go, i left him there for an hour, when i went to pick him up, he was hiding, curled up under a table.

He also hasnt been able to attend school for weeks, due to anxiety, but thats another story.

He is constantly saying things such as he is 'rubbish', 'ugly', everyone is 'smarter' than him etc, etc and gets tearful or upset at the slightest thing

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 20-Nov-12 09:56:55

Sounds like you are doing an amazing job already.

Would it be helpful to introduce an external validation? For example, he knows you love him and think he's great, you're his mum innit!? But if you yourself were so convinced that the rest of the world would agree with you that you are going to tell them!?

So, if you're going out (without him), ask him if it is okay for you to take one of his pictures to show the supermarket checkout girl/postman/people at work/neighbour etc.? or if you can tell them about something he has done.

If you can trust the person, you can also say things either in front of him or in ear shot.

Finally, this might be a bit devious (though no more morally dodgy than Father Christmas/tooth fairy), could you email a good 'friend' in Australia now and then to talk about stuff but also update on how well your ds is doing, and said 'friend' could gush!?

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 20-Nov-12 09:57:38

and you could email photos!?

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:46:37

Star, i think the telling strangers would confuse him if im honest, ds is 'over friendly' ie he will hug strangers, ask to go home with them etc, etc and i really have to work on what is and isnt appropriate.

For example a mum in the park, could say hello to ds and he would follow her around the park asking inappropriate questions, can i come to your house etc i then have to step in. Stranger, danger is a real issue for ds, he has none!

I do let him over hear telephone conversations with my mum or my sister, where i am telling them about something he has done etc and then put him on the phone for my mum or sister to say well done etc.

SallyBear Tue 20-Nov-12 11:25:09

Hi Claw, I dug through my email and found an email from a Clinical Psychologist regarding preparing my DD for a particular nasty surgery she was having a few years ago. Anyway she mentioned a website that she recommends to parents to use. It deals with anxiety and self esteem etc. HTH self esteem

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 11:37:02

Thanks very much Sally for doing that! I have bookmarked the link and will have a good read later. Must go and tidy up, have a home visit today.

Thanks again

silverfrog Tue 20-Nov-12 12:29:54

sorry to hear your ds is having a tough time, claw.

one thing we were told when dd2 was struggling with getting things wrong/not being able to do something, was to let her know it is ok to get thigns wrong - that everyone does.

so eg, we woudl make a (deliberate, but not obviously so) mistake, 'realise' (or better still, dd2 would notice and be able to correct), and then make it right.

everything from spelling a word wrong/writing a letter the wrong way, to forgetting a bit of a recipe and correcting; putting something on a table right on the edge so it falls - anything at all.

the crucial bit was voicing/talking through the whole thing. so lots of 'oh, what a silly mistake. I always do that. oh well, I'll try another way/I wonder what I could do to make it right' and so on.

the idea being she would see that people she thought were getting it all right also make mistakes, that mistakes are ok, that there is a way to put things right (mostly) as long as you don't panic about it. the voicing it all is supposed to mimic the thought process, so it is sort of a way of teaching how to think through something.

It did help her see she is not the only one who may find some things difficult, and her anxieties did lessen quite a lot.

Iceflower Tue 20-Nov-12 16:18:27

Wow, Sallybear that looks like a great site. Ds' HT keeps suggesting meditation to me, and I had images of monks in rice fields smile

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 16:46:40

Thanks Silver, ds is very much the perfectionist and his exceptations for himself are way too high, he is his own worse critic, his frustration level is extremely low.

He split a drink the other day by accident, he has never been told off for spilling a drink, its always been 'oops never mind, lets clear it up' but he was crying and getting himself into a right state, over some spilt juice. I tell him that i often spill things and its ok, it can be cleaned. Reassurance just doesnt seem to be working at the moment.

I will carry on telling him, as you say, thats it is ok to make mistakes and maybe he will start to realise, once he isnt so down.

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 16:47:04


SallyBear Tue 20-Nov-12 16:54:47

Thanks Iceflower. DD needed a lot of propping up and preparation for that last big surgeries in 2009/10. I will be using that site myself next year when she has Surgery no. 27.
The anxiety and low self esteem seem to go hand in hand, and as a parent it's very wearing trying to prop them up and boost them when it's been going on for a while. The clinical psychologist we saw at that time was excellent and we got through her last anaesthesia with distracting her by using sensory imagination.

moondog Tue 20-Nov-12 16:57:58

What we do with our children (I learnt it from a summer camp they attended) every night is an activity called 'thorn, rose and bud'.
Thorn is a not so great thing that happened.
Rose a great thing.
Bud something you are looking forward to tomorrow.

We all do it and my roses are usually to do with somethnig I am proud of my children for.
It is short and simple but works so well and a lovely end to the day as well as a reminder we all have good and bad stuff gonig on and that tomorrow is another day.

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:24:47

Thanks Moondog, i will add that to my list too and give it a go.

Although ds is extremely emotional at the moment, he also seems emotionless at the same time, if that makes sense.

He doesnt seem to understand what angry or sad or happy even is.

For example ds keeps saying to me that i am angry at him, when im not in the slightest bit angry at all. I can ask him something really simple like "do you want some toast" and he will ask why im angry with him.

Ive spent ages, explaining the signs of angry ie when people are angry they raise their voices, they pull this kind of face and demonstrated a typical angry person.

Then last night, when i asked another simple question ds asked me 'why are you sad' i told him i wasnt sad, i was happy and demonstrated sad and happy to him etc.

He then said again i was sad, when i explained i really wasnt, he told me he said 'sad' because i get 'angry' when he tells me im being 'angry'!

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 18:22:48

Moondog, i just tried thorn, rose, bud with ds.

His thorn - was attendance officer coming today

His rose - being helpful and working something out for himself, without my help ie split a drink, went and got the mop and cleaned it up by himself, without getting upset (entirely my idea, he couldnt think of anything, but agreed with my idea)

His bud - He couldnt think of anything and even with lots of ideas from me, he didnt agree with any of them.

Badvocsanta Tue 20-Nov-12 18:46:58

If your ds still believes in Santa you can go to pnp and get a free e mail from santa to ds with a photo and personal info.
As star says, external validation is very valuable.
What about him maybe posting a post on MN about something he likes/is inserted in?
I know others posters have done this with their dc?
Just a thought...
Ds1s anxiety and self esteem is sooo much better now but it's been a long road x

moondog Tue 20-Nov-12 19:12:42

That's a good start.
Did you do it too?
Lead by example. smile

Ruggles Tue 20-Nov-12 19:50:27

It sounds like you are doing lots of lovely things already. I really like the idea of thorn, rose and bud. We've being doing an evening-round-up over milk and cuddles, but I like the idea of putting experiences / feelings into a category. I also tell them about my day and try to weave some bits and pieces into that. We always start the day with a 'good news announcement' which normally features something that ds is involved in or possibly a bit nervous of.
Lawrence Education have some lovely Ros Bailey materials on emotions. We have the Dogum (soft toy dog) and work book which is good.

Claw - i'm interested to read about your son being overly friendly to people. Our ds is 4 and doesn't do this with strangers, but people that we know, possibly not very well or classmates mothers etc. I didn't realise that someone else did it too! Everyone always says how charming it is, but it always worries me...

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 20:47:56

Excuse my spelling! just realised how many mistakes ive made, im soooo tired smile

Yes i did Moondog, we made it into a game, ds loves games like that, we often play games like that in bed when ds cant sleep and is scared, where we take turns to think of our fav things, like fav animal, fav food, fav drink etc, etc.

Badvocsanta Thanks, yes he still does believe, i did the Santa video and ds just watched and told me 'its fake'! no pleasing him at moment!

I also told ds about MN and that i post here and talk to other mums, some of whom have children who have worries, he asked do they have autism and although he said he wouldnt like to post here, he did say that he would really like to meet other children with autism. Will try to find out if there are any groups in my area.

Ruggles They are not total strangers, well in ds's mind anyway, the fact they have said 'hello' and spoken to him, makes them not 'strangers'. The plumber who came to do some work, got a hug because he was in our house, so therefore not a stranger. The SW, the Dr and nurses at the hospital, the EP, the SALT all get a hug after meeting them for the first time, so basically anyone who interacts with ds, gets a hug. He would go off with anyone.

The strange thing is even professionals, dont see this as 'odd' they see it as ds is charming and friendly.

He is overly nice, overly friendly, overly kind, overly generous etc, etc.

HotheadPaisan Tue 20-Nov-12 21:41:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Tue 20-Nov-12 22:04:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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