How to give a child confidence (when it might be too late)?

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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 5:00 pm
DS 12 is overly concerned about what others think- he'll do anything to fit in. He is always questioning what I say or do because of how it reflects on him. He feels less than everyone, not good enough, and very insecure about himself and our family.

My first thought is therapy- but I question what weekly meetings with a therapist will offer him. I almost feel that it's too late to help him from within and seems like a waste of time and money to pay someone to tell him that he's good enough. Are there things that I can still be doing to help him see his inherent worth and to focus less on what everyone else thinks (or might be thinking) about him?

Has anyone found an effective way to help their child in this area and seen tangible improvements?
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 5:10 pm
Identify a strength of his and maximize it.
Have him use it at home, can it be turned into a Chesed or business opportunity? Where does he shine?
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 5:11 pm
I dont think its ever too late to give a child confidence. Honestly I think it is a lifelong journey for many. It sounds to me like he may be a normal preteen, but it could also be social anxiety. A therapist could help, but it also may be something he struggles with and will learn on his own as he gets older. A therapist wont just tell him he is good enough but teach him coping skills and how to think in a healthier way.
I personally at 26 am finally getting some confidence that I never had before. I always was worried about what other people think and just age and experience has made it better. The number 1 thing that has helped me though is just putting myself out there and in situations that may be uncomfortable and it makes me feel better about myself and realize no one knows what they are doing in life and we are all in the same boat.
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 5:16 pm
Point out his strengths and find ways that he can use them often. Compliment everything he does right, any time you see effort, do it very often. Tell him you want his advice on various things because he knows those topics well. Don't be critical. If you need to tell him something negative be careful about how you present it, make sure it's about the action only and not about him as a person. People have told me that things like karate classes can really help too.
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 5:21 pm
There are so many people that to to therapy for self esteem issues as adults. Why not start him now? Definitely not too late!
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 5:21 pm
Social anxiety is an anxiety like any other, it is a very primitive survival mechanism, a symptom of a brain that is hyper aroused in a steady state of fight or flight. There are many causes for a brain getting stuck this way, you need to figure out how to take down that arousal and calm the nervous system. Craniosacral is great for this, there are supplements that can help too.
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Rena K


Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 10:02 pm
Therapy might make him feel even more inferior, if it makes him feel like there really is something wrong with him.

Just want to mention first that what you describe may not be a bad thing. He seems like an introverted type who is very self-aware. This may translate to a more introspective adult after he gets through the teenage years. A confident teenager is not the same as a confident adult. I know he is still young, but getting closer to bar mitzvah, boys start thinking about social stuff more.

Could it be anxiety-related? Do you or your husband have unpredictable moods? It's not so much complements that build confidence as it is predictability and structure. I would try to ensure he is organized, has a good routine, eats well, and sleeps well, and gets enough exercise.
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:06 pm
With myself I find it's a combination of their anxiety and me being critical and not always understanding.
I'm going back for another refresher course on empathy in parenting. It really made a difference in my childrens' lives and still does bit I need to get back more focused on that.
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Post Mon, Sep 13 2021, 11:09 pm
Never too late.

Validate him- his choices, his fears etc

Read about EFT and emotional coaching.

Don’t criticize him. Help him discover his talents. when something goes wrong, don’t downplay it- validate that he feels sad or ashamed etc. and that those feelings hurt.

And I do think therapy with the right therapist can be a great great option. Maybe even a licensed therapist who is/was a rebbi- there’s a lot of those in the tristate area if that’s where you happen to live.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 8:35 am
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
With myself I find it's a combination of their anxiety and me being critical and not always understanding.
I'm going back for another refresher course on empathy in parenting. It really made a difference in my childrens' lives and still does bit I need to get back more focused on that.

Wow, good for you for recognizing the issue and taking care of it! That's really impressive.

Being self aware is 99% of the battle, and being willing to do something about it is the other 1%.

Nobody is a perfect mom, but you sound like a great mom. Very Happy

DD struggles with social anxiety, and I did a parenting course based on this book: https://www.bookdepository.com.....w_wcB

Combined with the weekly meetings with other parents of anxious children, it helped me immensely. While I was in the parenting course, DD was in group with the anxious kids. They learned that they were not alone, and got some helpful techniques to calm down and regulate emotions. I think DD was 10 or 11 when we did the courses, and she still uses those techniques today.

DD is 18 now, and takes Zoloft which helps a lot. B'H she's social and outgoing, has a job, and has just started college. She's very confident now, and enjoying being an adult.

(We're talking about a kid who spent the first 5 years of elementary school hiding under her desk, with her coat over her head.)
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chocolate moose


Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 7:17 pm
never too late!
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 7:38 pm
It’s never to late. I am in my thirties and I working really hard now on becoming more confident. The main thing he needs from you is to know that you, his mother, believe in him. You believe that he is an amazing person no matter what. You believe that he has many strengths and that he can push himself and succeed in whatever he wants if he’s willing to put in the effort . He needs to know that you have his back and recognize his worthiness even though he makes mistakes and is an imperfect human being. Think of ways you can make him believe and you are on the right track.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 8:24 pm
Try to be careful about not criticizing, and don't speak negatively about yourself either, or others but esp not other family members. I find my natural tendency is to be hard on myself and also critical of my kids and it's something I try to work on. Criticism can be subtle or implied but it's still damaging.
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 8:26 pm
He is so so so so so young. That's all I have time to say right now.

Ok. I have more time now. I would solve by following the root cause.

Some kids are just naturally this way and it's a lifelong middah they need to work on.

Some kids get like that from being criticized a lot, not succeeding at things.

Some kids are like that bec they really don't fit in our their family is different.

Some kids it stems from anxiety.

There are for sure other reasons too. This is what I can think of.

Last edited by behappy2 on Tue, Sep 14 2021, 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post Tue, Sep 14 2021, 9:34 pm
As others have said, help him develop any talents he has - singing, playing an instrument, photography

Give specific praise: you used good judgment when you did x, it was so thoughtful of you when you did Y.

Does DS have a good friend? If not help him "buy" a friend by offering to treat a friend to
pizza, bowling, etc.
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