Low Self-Esteem, Low Self-Confidence and Play Therapy

When children have healthy self-esteem and self-confidence they like and value themselves. While everyone lacks confidence sometimes, children with low self-esteem and low self-confidence feel unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves most of the time. This can be greatly helped with play therapy.


Symptoms in Children with Low Self-Esteem and Low Self-Confidence

A child with low self-esteem or low self-confidence might:

  • Be very critical of themselves

  • Downplay or deny their positive qualities

  • Judge themselves to be inferior to their friends

  • Use negative words to describe themselves, such as dumb, stupid, ugly or fat

  • Blame themselves when things go wrong instead of taking into account other things which are out of their control

  • Won’t believe people who compliment them

  • Be sad or anxious all the time

  • May avoid trying new things or avoid challenges

  • May cry a lot


How you can help

  • Praise your child for the effort they put into things, e.g., “you tried really hard on that puzzle” or “you knew just the right way to help that boy”

  • Give them credit for things they know or can do, e.g., “you know a lot about dinosaurs” or “you knew how to fix that without anyone telling you how!”

  • Try to avoid helping them see the ‘positive’ side or tell them it will all be ok


How Play Therapy can help

  • Play therapy can help your child ‘play out’ the causes of their low self-esteem and low self-confidence

  • When your child plays through the causes of their issues they will be able to find resolution and healing

  • Through play, they can then practice new ways of being. In time, the practice of having good self-esteem and confidence will be able to be played out in the real world.

Christine Harkin
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