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


Does she seem to have a number of meaningful friendships that have lasted, friendships into which she is invested? Does she speak easily and comfortably with adults?

At the other extreme we find youngsters who seem socially isolated and withdrawn. They might possibly say things like, “No one likes me!” They might even make friends easily, but have difficulty keeping them.

This youngster might either be uncomfortable with adults or spend all of their time with just one friend or one adults (such as a favorite teacher). Although this might appear to be a very positive relationship, the deeper message could be avoidance of other relationships. This can become a real problem, espeically if that one intense relationship falls apart. And generally, if the relationship is one-sided in its intensity, it will eventually fall apart.

There are underlying issues in such an unfortunate scenario. One is fear, fear of closeness and fear of being socially exposed. (Which is to say a fear that others, when they move in close, will not like what they see.) For an adolescent, a stage of growth where peers are such an important part of psychosocial development, just the thought of being “exposed” is quite disturbing. One way of dealing with this problem is to never, but never, let anyone get too close. But, just like the problem of risl, not letting anyone get close is also self-defeating.


September 5, 2006 Posted by | Difficult Child, Educators, Parents, Self-esteem | Leave a comment