Self-esteem often takes a nosedive during the "middle school" tween years. While you can't stop your child from critically judging how their abilities and bodies match up to their peers, there are a number of ways you can provide support.
- Demonstrate it
How frequently do you make belittling comments about yourself like "I'm fat" or "I'll can't do anything right." As much as you may tell your child that he or she's wonderful and can do anything, she's learning more by your actions than by your words.
- Emphasize their talents
You can build self-esteem by emphasizing the importance of your tween's talents. Your family may prize athletics because an older sibling is great at soccer. It just so happens your tween loves band but is weak at sports. This can lead to a sense of low self-esteem because he or she is not good at "what matters." So make music (or whatever the skill set is) count! Bottomline: we don't get to choose the areas in which our children excel, but we do get to choose when we dole out praise and acceptance.
- Listen and Pay Attention
We already know the greatest gift we can give our children is time and undivided attention. This fact is especially true in relation to building self-esteem. Listening does not have to occur in huge quantities to be effective. Even ten minutes of true attention is worth more than several hours of being "together" but never really focusing on what your tween is saying. Being a good listener means not offering judgments, criticisms or even advice. Simply hear what your child is saying and restate his or her comments to show that you're listening.
- Help them feel beautiful or handsome
This can be a turbulent time in their life. They dont feel like a kid but are not seen as a teenager. Many feel uncomfortable with hormone and body changes, acne, braces, etc but it doesnt have to be that way. How much would it improve their self esteem if they felt like a model instead?
NB.Tween Photography Project
We started the nb.tween photography project with the goal to help tweens look and feel beautiful/handsome and have unshakable self-confidence in themselves when they hit high school.
We are looking for both male and female participants, typically ages 10-13.
We want to capture the the personality of these tweens and record the last stage of their childhood before they become young ladies and young men. Imagine the impact this model experience can have on your tween's self-image.
Have them bring a friend along and we will create an image of them together. Twice the fun!