December 18, 2017

School, Self Esteem and Love by Lillian Sanderson

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Sometimes children are given signals from adults that reduce their opinion of themselves. They take criticism personally and begin to express the opinion that they are “dumb”.

It is really difficult to know why some children’s self esteem deflates so easily.  I have seen this happen and it is heartbreaking to watch children be so frustrated that they blame themselves and feel like a failure in elementary school.

My observation is that this is not a sudden change from the happy go lucky kindergartener to the school hating 4th or 5th grader.   A single event would be very unlikely to dampen that eager to learn attitude.  Recognizing that children learn in different ways, have varying degrees of social comfort in group settings, and are just plain individuals is basic training for teachers.  Schools that choose real teachers who have education degrees and certification, rather than nice people who have degrees in other fields, is a pretty important start to assure that your child will be understood by a professional.


Professionalism is vital to relating to each student and recognizing that they may have some difficulty in a subject or in a social situation.  Mothers may know their child, but when there is a classroom full of kids, it takes someone that has gone through the intensive training, student teaching, and additional course studies to meet the needs of each child.  Communicating with the parents to better understand each child is a good sign that the teacher knows what they are doing.  Experience is the key.  An engineer is to be respected, but teach kids?  No one would suggest that a high school history teacher design a bridge.  Why is the education of a child less important than construction?


Great teachers listen to parents so they can learn about the child.


Parents can watch for the unhappy groans when a child is struggling with a subject or skill.  Praise the positive and when the child says something negative about himself or herself, make her  follow it with something good about herself.


“I am dumb and Math is hard,” comments little Sam or Sue in a sad tearful voice that breaks your heart. Answer with something like: “Some subjects take more work to learn; you are certainly NOT dumb!” And then, “Tell me something that is good about you that you are happy about in school.”


When they are bummed about their looks or their size or whatever, this is also a good technique to use ….can’t just say something you don’t like, tell me what you do like about yourself, “because, I love everything about you!”


Every negative spoken must be followed with a positive……they will smile eventually as they get the point of this.


Unconditional love and acceptance at home can heal an awful lot of growing pains!


Lillian is a midwestern mom of 5 grown kids and a grandmother of 10

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