My good friend Danielle is Psychology Intern at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin. She’s about to graduate with her P.h.D in Clinical Psychology at Baylor University (whoop whoop!)
She’s seriously one of the smartest, most capable people I know:)
Danielle's been working with kids in therapy for the past year, helping them deal with trauma, depression, anxiety, and other issues. I asked her at what age kids begin to develop a sense of their self-worth, either positive or negative.
I'm interested because it's my mission to help kids feel loved and valued for who they truly are.
“Young children have relatively high self-esteem and overly positive outlooks about themselves, which gradually declines over the course of childhood,” Danielle says.
This makes a lot of sense, because as we grow we start comparing ourselves to others. Kids can be really mean, and it has lasting affects on how we think about ourselves.
Self esteem continues to decline, she says, as kids reach adolescence, and things like body issues, stressful school situations, and complex social interactions come into play (Hello, Middle School.)
I think we’ve all had experiences as kids where we’ve felt pressure to fit in and be liked. I've written about my own struggle to feel good about myself, and it's why I'm so passionate about my mission.
“That’s why childhood and early adolescence is such an important time for intervention!,” says Danielle.
And by intervention, she means parents helping their kids develop that positive sense of their own worth and value.
One of the things she advices parents and kids not to do is “stuff’ their emotions.
Another important thing for parents to do is to teach their kids how to problem solve. That means letting them figure things out on their own.
Danielle says it’s really important to let your kids fail, because that’s how they learn to deal with emotions like sadness and frustration.
She’s also sure to praise the parents for coming to therapy, because it’s not easy to admit when you need help. And for parents seeking therapy for their kids, Danielle encourages them to be involved in the treatment as well, because they learn valuable skills.
Here’s a few helpful links if you’d like more information:
If you found this article helpful, please share with a friend!