My feed

to access all these features


How to increase 6 year old self esteem

7 replies

Crashburger · 09/09/2020 23:43

My 6yo boy is acting out a bit recently (defiance, bullying his sister, anger). He isnt 100% happy with school for some reason I suspect because it is more learning and less playing plus no whole year breaks any more.

He says stuff like "I'm stupid." And when I point out he's not all the replies are "DSis is better at swimming, maths, running" or "YOU read better than me" of course I reassure him but I feel it's not getting through and I'm worried he gets demotivated. It desperately saddens me. What should I do?

For context he is sensitive, painfully quiet outside home, youngest in his class, doesnt really have friends with the burly sporty or chatty boys. And it's true his younger sister can do a lot more earlier than him (better at cycling, runs faster, read before him). But i think he is bright enough, doing well for his age, he's catching up in reading (pretty fast and accurate in all school books hes given) and maths (able to add/subtract double digit, count in 5s, 10s) maybe struggling with writing - not because he cant but he's lazy to do it (so refuses to do summer homework etc). However he is very reluctant to speak up in class and just suffers silently for little things e.g. he doesnt know how to ask for a book he wants.

OP posts:
Stompythedinosaur · 10/09/2020 00:19

If he is struggling to make friends I would speak to his teacher to see if they can support him with this. One lovely teacher managed to largely solve my dds anxiety about not having friends at school by pairing her up with a different child each day for group work. Normally I'd suggest inviting kids over to play on a 1:1 basis too, but that might not be possible right now.

Other than that, you could try lovebombing or support him to do an activity where he feels he success and has talent (ideally seperate to younger sis).

Sometimes it helps to rephrase the praise you give so that both praise both dc for effort made not for their achievement.

BogRollBOGOF · 10/09/2020 00:40

Talk to school. Keep an eye on the areas where he is struggling. It may be maturity (especially in a disrupted year) There could be issues like dyslexia/ dyspraxia- the overtaken by younger sibling was a clue for DS and his cousin. Testing tends to be from about 8 to give chance for children to mature out of areas of difficulty.

Praise efforts rather than outcomes.

Crashburger · 10/09/2020 23:15

Thanks both.

Yes good point, I'll speak to his teacher. He doesnt like who he's sitting next to! He seems obsessed with playground/school break matters, today he had a bruise below his rib because some boys pushed him over (by accident).

I should make more effort to spend one on one time with him. It's trickier at the moment as his sister is getting all my time (settling into reception and half day sessions). Basically when he sees me, his sister is there... even bedtime is impossible to do separately. He doesnt particularly like to go to town or the park or cycle with just me, so I'll have to think of things we can do together, just us, and get DH to pry his sister off me.

How do you praise efforts? Hes often very reluctant to put in effort and it's a massive job to get him to read, do homework, clean up his mess, wash himself etc even if he is more than capable. When he does do something, now you say it, my praises do sound insincere "good job I knew you could do it!"

I dont think he has dyslexia as he reads pretty fluently, though dont know much about dyspraxia. Sometimes suspect he has ADHD.
But hard to tell at this age. And he can sit still sometimes... when all the stars are aligned. Definitely immature vs his peers.. it's more the social / emotional/temper/physical coordination aspects I'm concerned with rather than academic issues.

OP posts:
Stompythedinosaur · 11/09/2020 00:25

To build up a positive association of praise for effort you have to lower your expectations. Basically look for stuff to praise, no matter how small. It is a good mental habit to get into, finding things to praise. There must be activities that he likes - you can praise him for moving a piece in a game carefully or being enthusiastic about football or observant playing a computer game or whatever.

If there is any chance he has ADHD then you need to hold in mind all the time how much harder he is having to work than other dc to manage his behaviour and attention.

Validating statements like "I am so happy you are my son because I love your jokes/cuddles/smiles" can be helpful too. If you read to him, then point out ways he is similar to the lead characters in books. You can say things like "I think you are like X because you are adventurous/kind/loyal", or ask what he would do at key moments where a positive trait is required and when he says he would do the positive action agree that you think he would too e.g. "I bet you would stand up for your friend because I know you are kind" or "I know if it was you you would go into the cave because I know how brave you are."

LooseleafTea · 11/09/2020 01:44

I had low self esteem as a child and I don’t know if that’s why but I have always actively built them up . since they’ve been tiny when I put them to bed I say something positive (and true) about them just so they know. Eg you are such a clever girl and I love you . Or about how kind they are. I think bedtime can be a really helpful time to do this as they are relaxed and open to taking it in etc

LooseleafTea · 11/09/2020 01:48

A lot of what your DS is doing does sound very normal for a young child - our DC were very quiet at that age, and I think speaking up in class does hopefully get easier . Our dS was similar too re friends but it’s just starting to come together really happily now he’s older even with all the boys

LadyDoc1 · 11/09/2020 02:37

I bought a card game called Sussed online and it was really great at starting conversations with my son. It might be a bit old for him but you can change some of the questions to make them age appropriate. For example, is an armpit fart, an actual fart or burping a noise that would make me laugh most? Silly stuff.
Or is there a TV programme you could watch together as your 'thing?' I watch Yukon Vet with my boy and we have a good laugh at the cute pets and a cry about the sad outcomes, talk about travel and how amazingly talented the vet is. I'd nip the negative talk about himself in the bud if you can, it spirals.
1:1 time to just have a giggle is so important but equally so difficult to make happen

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.