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Question 4 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem

There are five questions that pertain to the evaluation of a child or adolescent’s self-esteem. It is probable that a child with low self-esteem will have difficult in more than one area addressed by these five questions.

These questions come from a downloadable guide for parents, grandparents and teachers entitled, “Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem.” For more information about this informative guide, go to:

James Sutton, Child and Adolescent Psychologist


Question 4 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem




LIfe involves risk. The very hope of progress, just about any kind of progress, demands that we take risks. Not fool-hearty risks, of course, but age and situation-appropriate risks.

Examples of risks include sports and other areas of competition, the sort of classes a high school student signs up for, seeking an after-school job, and the big one for a guy … asking a girl out for a date. Life requires risk all the time.

The bottom line of risk-taking is always the same: fear of failure. If that fear is strong enough, one will not risk. But there’s a paradoxical quality to it. Since one cannot experience success UNLESS he takes a risk, a paralyzing fear of ultimately creates … failure.

We might consider here a pattern of an opposite effect, a fear of success. The whole notion of success doesn not fit well with a poor self-image or a low self-esteem. Many youngsters will strive for a consistency of a poor self-image rather than a successful life-style. That seems to run contrary to the laws of personhood, but in three decades of working with young people, I have seen it happen over and over again.

NEXT: Question 5 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem


September 2, 2006 Posted by | Difficult Child, Educators, Parents, Self-esteem, Uncategorized | Leave a comment