Low self-esteem and how we can help our daughters overcome it

When one hears the term “low self-esteem” their minds frequently take them to the extreme images of a woman who walks around with her head held down or the woman with a eating disorder.

When one hears the term “low self-esteem” their minds frequently take them to the extreme images of a woman who walks around with her head held down or the woman with a eating disorder. Our minds rarely go to the well-dressed woman sitting across from us on the subway or the no non-sense businesswoman we see gallivanting around the office. These false assumptions are where our society has failed us in some ways. The truth of the matter is that low self-esteem knows no race, social class, or age group, nor does it hit a specific kind of woman. Even the woman who looks like she has it all on the outside could be doubting herself a great deal on the inside.

It does however, seem to be familiar with gender because it appears to impact women at a higher percentage than men. Studies show that 90 percent of all women want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. But, why? The blame for poor self image among women in the United States can be blamed on a variety of different factors from pressures from the media to sexual objectification to internalized negative comments, and the list goes on. However, the true question should be: What is being done about it?

One thing that we should not overlook is that low self-esteem rarely just shows up during adulthood, but is something that is deeply rooted within many of us from childhood. According to a study conducted at the New York University Child Study Center, Dr. Robin F. Goodman writes, “Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are nine years old, then takes a nose dive.” Studies show that 75 percent of eight and nine year olds like their looks; however, that figure drops to 56 percent once girls reach ages 12 and 13.

What happens between the ages of nine and twelve to make these numbers drop so drastically probably varies by case, but what we do know are the high-risk behaviors commonly associated with low self-esteem. These behaviors include but are not limited to drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders and the list goes on. But what can be done to protect our girls? How can we somehow intervene and somehow rescue our girls from bearing the same burdens and battling the same demons that many of us have battled for large portions of our lives? While building up a child’s self-esteem by letting them know how important, smart, and beautiful they are is important, it is also imperative to communicate. Don’t just tell your child what you think of them, but also find out what they think of themselves and why. If you are able to uncover what the culprit is early on, chances are you can reverse its effects. Often times children are impacted by low self-esteem before they are old enough to even grasp the c
oncept.

I was about 20 years old when it finally dawned on me that I had some self-esteem issues. Sadly, these were issues that I had been grappling with since I was about four years old. My mother whom I always shared just about everything with was shocked when I shared this revelation with her. She and my father had always been sure to share with me how important and beautiful I was, yet, somehow low self-esteem still crept in. There are many credited groups and organizations that are dedicated to the building up and empowerment of girls, but the truth is that the war on poor self-esteem begins at home. According to Crosswalk.com, “Girls are craving better communication with adult figures as they struggle with challenges in their lives. The top wish among girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, including more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in her life.” So, the next time you look at that special little girl in your life and think about how gr
eat she is be sure to share that with her, but don’t hesitate to get in her head and find out how she feels about herself. Start asking the right questions such as what she likes about herself, what she doesn’t like about herself, what she believes others think about her, etc. and listen closely. The first step to solving a problem is uncovering that there is one.

Source: Madame Noire

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