As your child approaches puberty you may notice she suffers a dip in confidence. With huge emotional and physical changes taking place, most pre-teens – boys and girls alike – go through an unsettled period. It can be a tough time for them – and for you.
There are steps you can take to successfully steer your child through this stage of development. Key is giving love and support and helping pre-teens to like themselves – spots and greasy hair included – and not to fear the changes that are taking place, however scary they may seem.
Pre-teen self-esteem boosters
- Praise on a regular basis – however small the achievement, acknowledge when your child has done something well.
- Really listen when your child talks to you. Being heard and understood is vital to good self-esteem.
- Avoid being judgemental and only offer advice if you are specifically asked for it.
- When appropriate, compliment your child on her outfit or hair-do. Be genuine though – pre-teens dislike false praise.
- Give reassurance that all these bodily and mood changes are perfectly normal.
- To encourage good behaviour use phrases such as ‘I like it when you…’
- Pre-teens can test the best of us but try not to lose your temper. If they misbehave, label the act, not the child. For example, ‘that was a silly thing to do,’ not, ‘you’re an idiot.’
- Tell your child often that you love him just the way he is. Psychologists call this unconditional parental love and it is vital to a child’s self-esteem.
- Boost his self-belief by frequently letting him know how likeable he is.
- Pre teens often have strong views. Respect his point of view, while sharing yours, and don’t put-down his ideas.
- Encourage your child’s friendships and accept that he will increasingly want their company and not yours.
Further reading for tweens
Self-Esteem: Learning to believe in yourself by Anita Naik (Hodder, £5.99)
Now tell us what worked for you…
In what ways did you help boost your child’s self esteem?