A loss of confidence by her daughter is concerning Becky from Conwy in this week’s A Problem Shared…. Do you have any advice to go along with ours?
I don’t know if this is something to be worried about yet or if I’m just over-reacting. My daughter who’s just turned 10, seems to have suddenly lost her confidence.
She’s incredibly bright and has always been outgoing and bubbly and has lots of friends. Yet recently she seems to need so much reassurance. She’ll say things like ‘I’m ugly’ or more worryingly ‘I’m fat’. It takes a lot of persuasion to get her to go out and play with her friends.
I give her a hug and tell her she’s being silly but don’t know where this has come from. I wondered if she’s being bullied but her teacher said she hasn’t noticed anything and her school work’s fine. She is beginning to develop, so not sure if that’s the issue.
Our FamilyPoint advice to Becky
Hi, thanks for contacting FamilyPoint Cymru. It’s never too early to raise worries you might have about your daughter. It shows that you’re a good parent and are concerned about her well-being. It is positive that you have noticed changes in your daughter’s confidence at an early stage and would like to take action to address it.
You’ve taken steps to find out with school whether things are OK there and they haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. You also mentioned that she’s beginning to develop and is concerned with her appearance and weight, and is reluctant to go out and socialise with her friends. This is a change from her usual bubbly outgoing self.
It is possible that she is starting puberty, which will have many changes, both emotionally and physically. It sounds like you have a good relationship and are very supportive providing your daughter with reassurance and emotional support (hugs, etc).
Communication is also vital during this time. Have you asked your daughter why she feels this way? Sometimes being listened to is more important than the response you get. Just feeling that you are listening and accepting her feelings without judging her will help her self-esteem and confidence.
Depending on her response, it may be something specific that you can deal with. For example – if she’s been using social media (like Instagram, Snapchat, or other sites) it may be something has upset her (a picture or comments).
Resources that can help
It may be that she doesn’t like the things that are happening to her body and it is unsettling her. There are lots of resources out there which you could tell her about, or show her, which will help to explain what’s happening to her and validate that her feelings are normal. The 2 links below are from Dove, we necessarily don’t endorse their products, but their self-esteem project and guides are amongst the best available:
- Advice for parents – Boost your daughter’s body confidence
- Uniquely Me – A parent’s guide to building girls’ body confidence (PDF)
You are right to keep encouraging her to go out and play. Social networks are an important part of building children’s resilience, particularly for unsettling times such as moving to secondary school – she’ll need her support networks around her then to help her settle in. She might feel different to the children she normally plays out with. If so, you could suggest some after school activities that you think she might be interested in – joining a new club, group, or youth club in your local area.
Celebrate the things she is good at and get her to try new things as achieving goals boosts self-esteem. Above all, keep doing what you’re doing and tell her how bright, bubbly and special she is.
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via:
Phone 0300 222 57 57
Text 07860 052 905
The FamilyPoint Cymru Team
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