Raising your daughter

Sugar and spice and all things nice... or moods and malice and meanness? What is your daughter made of? How can you support, guide and enjoy her?

How can I raise my 10 year old daughter's self esteem?

Q. My 10 year old daughter seems to be suffering from low self esteem. What can I do to increase it and build her own self-belief?

A. The key here is to praise, care and nurture your daughter. Praise her effort rather than her achievement, care for her by listening to her attentively and nurture her by giving her your unconditional love. Show her that we learn through making mistakes and feel good about ourselves when we succeed in reaching reasonable goals which we have chosen.

If you can try to identify the particular area that is causing her to feel bad about herself. Is it lack of academic success or lack of social success? Are there any issues at home? By listening to her and discussing what is troubling her you can help her to take a more balanced view and perhaps offer some solutions. Consider encouraging her to invite friends over to the house more regularly and allow her to develop the talents and natural gifts she has with lots of positive encouragement.

In order to have strong self esteem your daughter needs to feel valued, successful and able to achieve so try to find opportunities for her to succeed, help her identify her strengths and celebrate them with her.

Read our related articles: Self esteem matters and How can I boost my daughter’s self-confidence?

Zoe Dunn, The Royal School Hampstead
Helen Stone, St Francis College, Herts
Felicity Taylor, Queens’ Lower School Chester
Jo Wallace, Putney Junior High School GDST
Julie Windett, Greenacre School for Girls

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Your comments

Just from another father’s point of view and having a sense of humour with my suggestion. The father that ridicules his own daughter needs a “cast iron frying pan to the head”. As a parent you have one chance of raising a a child. Be it a boy or girl, it doesn’t matter. I believe they should grow up to be better than us or at least be different from their parents. Learn from my mistakes. Believe me I have made mistakes and my kids are 5 and 6. Never cut down your kids because that starts a chain of events that will continue.

By Clintjay on Friday 25 January 2013

My daughter is 10, she’s recently got glasses and my ex (her father) and his gf have done nothing but ridicule her for them.. even going so far as to say she is faking needing them to be “cool” and that she will not be allowed to wear them for the family photo. I’m doing my best to teach my girls that they are beautiful inside and out, but it seems every step I take to ensure that they have positive self esteem their dad takes 3 to ensure they dont…

By Kasifaith713 on Friday 27 July 2012

My daughter is 11 and has said she hates herself and thinks she’s ugly. She is quite small for her age so also her height is also an issue to her. I found her yesterday hitting herself around the head saying she hates herself. I found this very upsetting and have spoken to her teacher today and her and the main problems seems to be low sef esteem but also she is the eldest child and her siblings are triplets and she feels really out of it because she isn’t a triplet. I have tried so hard to lessen the impact this has had on her but eventually she has had to accept it and adapt

By annebowles on Wednesday 25 May 2011

I agree that praising effort is the key – for so many related reasons. Ironically if you take off the pressure to do well and praise the effort, your child is more likely to do well anyway since “doing one’s best” is an achievable goal for all and achievable goals lead to more confidence and more confidence leads to a better performance. The idea of doing one’s best also puts the value firmly on the individual achievement and in my opinion this leads to higher self esteem and a happier/more grounded life. Ay my daughter’s school there seems to be a complete lack of jeaousy and envy in her class (Yr 6)but rather a genuine delight in each other’s achievments – academic and otherwise. This does not hold back progress but increases it.

By emmagold on Friday 20 May 2011

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