Self-esteem is an important concept and need for people of all ages. For middle-aged children, it helps to enhance their adaptive functioning at a time when they are establishing friendships and finding their sense of self. Children with a high self-esteem are noted to be more willing to act in an independent nature, are more willing to attempt new tasks with confidence, accept and assume responsibility, are more willing to provide others with assistance when needed, and are less likely to become frustrated (Butler & Gasson, 2005).
There are several types of interventions and therapies for children that suffer from self-esteem. The simplest form is reassurance on a daily basis, which can come from a supportive family group. Consistently hearing positive reassurance, at least in a ten to one ratio over negative, can help the child regain some confidence. Clinically, a common intervention that is used is cognitive behavior therapy. Through this type of therapy, the child first needs to be able to find that he or she has some self-worth. The clinician needs to spend time investigating many different avenues and facets with the child to find some areas in which there are indicators of positive values and help the child make some positive connections between these values and the worth of the child. Next, it is important for the therapist to work with the child to begin to help the child begin to understand that the child does have value and worth. When the child is able to accept and believe that this is true, some real progress can be made. If possible, this is a great place to be able to include supportive family members in the process. It is important to help ensure that the child has demonstrated and accepted a decent sense of self-worth before decreasing and eventually discharging the child from therapy.
There are also several other types of intervention that can be combined with and included in the therapy program to help a child improve his or her self-esteem. These include helping the child learn coping skills and stress management skills in difficult situations and behavior management strategies when issues begin to seem overwhelming. If there is a family member or another adult for the child to use as a support, that is also beneficial during and after the therapy process (Leeson & Nixon, 2010).
Butler, R. J., & Gasson, S. L. (2005). Self Esteem/Self Concept Scales for Children and
Adolescents: A Review. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 10(4), 190-201.
Leeson, F., & Nixon, R. V. (2010). Therapy for child psychological maltreatment. Clinical
Psychologist, 14(2), 30-38. doi:10.1080/13284207.2010.500311