38% of girls ages 8 to 12 told us they’re jealous of the way other girls look.
Here are five common low self-esteem signs to watch for in your daughter.
You know your daughter is pretty cool. Her unique personality, her special talents and her distinct characteristics are all reasons for you to be proud of her. The question is, does she know how cool she is? We’re not talking about her bragging to anyone who will listen, but rather that feeling deep down inside that tells her she has so many reasons to love and be proud of herself. This kind of self-love is at the core of healthy self-esteem, and if you daughter doesn’t have it, it’s important that you help her develop it…and now! But what are the signs of low self-esteem in children? Here are five common low self-esteem signs to watch for in your daughter.
1. Your daughter talks negatively about her looks.
During the preteen years, your daughter is apt to become more conscious of her physical appearance. Her body is changing rapidly, and many young girls aren’t happy with how the changes are turning out. Anita Gurian, Ph.D., of AboutOurKids.org, says, “Self-esteem is related to how we feel about ourselves: It’s not just how we look but how we feel about how we look.” If your daughter repeatedly talks negatively about her body or the way she looks, that’s one of the major signs of low self-esteem and poor body image.
2. She doesn’t accept compliments well.
Although compliments frequently make tween girls a little uncomfortable, a confident person will typically be able to accept a compliment with a thank you, while a person who has low self-esteem will discourage the compliment and protest that whatever is being said about her is not true. Pay extra close attention to how your daughter reacts to compliments, especially when they come from someone other than you. She expects you to say nice things about her, and so may not value the compliments as highly. In fact, according to a Discovery Girls’ survey, only 22 percent of girls say compliments from their parents make them feel best.
3. She walks with her head down or has poor posture.
Body language can do a lot of talking to the mom and dad of a tween girl. Think about the body language of a confident person: She stands tall, smiles, makes eye contact, and leaves her arms at her sides instead of crossing them in front of her body. If your daughter is showing the opposite body language, this could be one of the signs of low self-esteem.
4. She says she is not as pretty as her friends or shows jealousy of the way her friends look.
Between the ages of 8 and 12, it’s natural for your daughter to try to figure out how she measures up against her friends. According to a Discovery Girls’ survey, 19 percent of 8-year-olds are already jealous of the way other girls look. As girls get older, the number goes up, with 46 percent of 12- and 13-year-olds jealous of the way other girls look. Many girls struggle with these feelings at one time or another. But if your daughter seems jealous of nearly all of her friends or just can’t seem to get past her jealous feelings, there’s cause for concern.
5. Your daughter doesn’t talk to others or is very shy.
As we mentioned in a post earlier this week, “5 Ways to Help Your Daughter to Be Less Shy,” excessive shyness can be a sign of low self-esteem in children. If your child appears to be nervous, uncomfortable or self-conscious in certain situations, this could be one of the signs of low self-esteem.
The presence of any one of these warning signs of low self-esteem in children is not cause for alarm, but several repeated occurrences should put you on the alert. If you see these warning signs popping up in your daughter, it might be time for you to step in and give her a boost. Parents can have a tremendous effect on their daughters’ self-esteem. In fact, our survey revealed that 85 percent of girls say that their parents boost their self confidence! For more information on improving low self-esteem, download our free report!