There is little harder to hear than the person you love most saying that they hate themselves. It breaks my heart to even think that my beautiful, smart, and sensitive son feels this way sometimes. I know we all have our down days, but a 5 year old should never feel that way.
This is our new struggle.
T has been saying this the past couple of weeks, mainly at school. When I ask him about it, he says that it’s true. He “hates” himself, and that he’s not as good as the other kids in his class. He is really struggling with writing, and he sees his friends (both in school and out) able to write better than he can.
The thing is, it’s not true. T goes to a developmental preschool where the other kids are of varying abilities. He is by far not the worst writer in his class. heck, there are children in there that can’t hold a pencil. But he doesn’t see this. He only sees the other students who can write their names on just one line, that they can form numbers on their paper, that they can draw the shapes they are asked to draw.
He is very discouraged, and doesn’t want to practice at home. He says that he’s shy, and that I’ll be upset that he can’t write well.
I’ve talked to his OT and she will start working more closely on his writing skills. And I know his teacher has been working closely with him.
His teacher is also in very close contact with me, she emails me every afternoon to let me know how T was at school. He has been unusually emotional lately, but I chalked that up to his recent growth spurt and the return to routine after the holidays. I’m starting to worry that there is more there, I’m starting to worry about his self esteem.
I am realistic that this is just the beginning of the struggles he will face in school. That there will be many more things that will make him feel like he is not “as good” as his peers. What I’m trying to figure out now is how to build the self esteem he needs to know that he is just as good as his friends, no matter his abilities. I try to remind him of the things that he does really well. For instance, he is extremely athletic, he has an amazing grasp on the English language and communicates at the level of a 7-8 year old (if not higher now) and he is so compassionate.
My son is developing the self awareness to know that he is different from many of his peers. He has told me about how some kids are afraid of him, that he doesn’t understand the rules to the games kids his age want to play, and that he feels different. I think my challenge as his mother is how to build on the things he does well, and to support him when he needs to work harder on the things that he falls behind in. Creating a balance for him, so that he can build a healthy self image.
How do help your child when they realize they are different?