When a child possesses a healthy self-esteem, he feels good about himself. He feels loved and wanted and powerful . He expects that the world will treat him well and that he’ll do well in the world. When he steps into a classroom, he brings that attitude with him. He can relax in confidence and pay attention to the teacher and the work, with the belief that he will do well and all will be well. He is open to the adventures of learning and discovery because he’s not “busy” with himself.
When a child has a low self-esteem, he often feels “wrong” and “bad” and “powerless.” He brings anxiety with him, anxiety that he won’t perform well and people will “pick” on him because he’s weird or “bad” and deserves it, anxiety that he’s stupid and won’t understand. This anxiety can manifest itself in numerous ways – stomachaches, headaches, or reluctance to go to school, daydreaming while in school, hiding by not participating. The child is so worried about negative outcomes that he is unable to summon up the concentration and energy necessary for learning, no matter how intelligent he is. Then, the process becomes accumulative. The more he doesn’t learn, the more he falls behind and that increases his negative sense of self.
It is critical for parents and teachers to be acutely aware of children who have low self-esteem and to intervene immediately and fully and to offer them help.
Miriam Kove is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has worked with parents, children, individuals and couples for 30 years.
She was born in Bassarabia, raised in Canada and has lived in New York City since attending theater school in 1962. She has worked in theater off and on for many years but her primary passion and primary career has been as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. For 20 years, she specialized in seeing children and parents. Presently, she works with adults and couples and supervise therapists who work with children.
Her mission is to begin a dialogue on the critical importance of parenting and the necessity for people to acquire knowledge, both internal and external, that will allow them to raise healthy, loving children.
For more information visit www.MiriamKove.com