Lhe parents of 11-year-old Lilou have been worried since her last class council. Even if their daughter gets very good grades in the sixth grade, the teachers agree: Lilou is too withdrawn, she doesn’t dare to participate and doesn’t take the initiative. Some don’t even know the sound of his voice. And if she seems rather appreciated by her peers, she hasn’t really bonded. Lilou needs to gain confidence! His parents are surprised. It is true that she speaks little at home, but her older sister, who is very talkative, takes up a lot of space.
Since her early childhood, parents have never stopped opening her to the world by enrolling her in numerous activities. Lilou is also excellent at gymnastics, although she fears competition. Like many children on the verge of adulthood, Lilou seems “ trust her “.
There are actually multiple forms of trust that develop from early childhood through early experiences and relationships to build what is known as self-esteem.
Basic trust: feeling lovable
It is built from the earliest years and is based on the unconditional love of the parents. It is this love that enables the child to love themselves and to accept being loved. Symbolically, this can be translated as: “If my parents love me, it’s because I’m lovable”. Children naturally ask their parents: “Do you love me?”. Some doubt and still others test their parents’ patience and feelings… by pushing the boundaries: “And if I screw up, will you still love me?”
Everyone needs regular reassurance.
Confidence in one’s own abilities: feeling capable
Confidence in their abilities represents the child’s ability to recognize their strengths. He also knows his limits and is not ashamed of them. In the face of a trial, he is able to mobilize his resources while knowing he has the right to fail. As a parent, it’s about gradually empowering the child, appreciating their achievements, encouraging them without putting pressure on them. Don’t expect our child to always be good in class, very polite, good at sports… If we try not to be overly demanding, then he’s less afraid of disappointing us when he makes a mistake. Let us not hesitate to show our own weaknesses.
Self-affirmation: Feeling unique
To affirm oneself as unique one must know and express one’s tastes, needs, desires and first of all feel accepted in one’s uniqueness, by one’s family. Parents must respect the unique individual that develops with them, who is not a copy or extension of themselves. This means, for example, that you avoid answering on your child’s behalf or anticipating their wishes. In this condition, the child can assert himself in a group and will not be influenced or “withdrawn”.
Relational Trust: Feeling valuable to others
When you grow up, not only the eyes of your parents count, but also those of your friends, the group. In order to feel safe with others, it is necessary to feel useful through one’s simple presence. It should be sure to have as much value as another and contribute to a whole. So it’s about positive feedback from the outside and not about mockery or humiliation.
Find the source of the difficulty
In order to help Lilou, it is important to recognize which pillar of her appreciation is at stake. Lilou explains that her older sister was always hard on her. Jealous of her place as a little sister and convinced she has fewer abilities than her, she is still very often hurtful. Parents tend to downplay the impact of these words, sometimes even siding with the big sister who they see as more vulnerable. Regularly hearing his elder say to him: “You’re useless, you’re useless, no one loves you…”, Lilou’s confidence was damaged. The fact that their parents don’t defend them could make them question their worth and affect their assertiveness.
On the other hand, maybe because of this, Lilou hasn’t made many friends and is therefore a bit isolated. However, this isolation leads to a lack of trust, which creates less good relationships and therefore less trust. It is a vicious circle that is difficult to break out of on your own.