My Daughter Has Low Self-Esteem
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My Daughter Has Low Self-Esteem, What to Do?

Questioner

S

Reply Date

Jul 19, 2019

Question

My daughter (9 years) is very emotional and also lacks self-confidence. She gets upset and weeps always for any minor issue. She is obsessed with her look and doesn't see herself pretty although she is really beautiful. She wants everyone to flatter her in order to feel that she is pretty. Sometimes, I think she wants to be like the center of the world or she would be sad!

I tried to make her understand that she is pretty and that our appearance is not that important but our behavior is, but in vain. She makes me lose my mind and yell at her sometimes when she is over sensitive. She is not good at socialization as well and always want other kids to come and beg her in order to play with them and if they don't she becomes sad that they don't love her and they ignore her. Please help me on how to deal with her.

Counselor

Answer


Low Self-Esteem

In this counseling answer:

•I would kindly suggest removing any media (books,magazines, movies, TV shows) which are geared towards this ideal and increase her low self-esteem.

•Get your daughter enrolled in some Islamic classes for children which focus on the beauty of the heart (compassion, kindness, etc), of worship as well as intellectual abilities.

•You may want to get her involved with children’s groups that go hiking, play games together, study Qur’an, go to fun places as well as other uplifting and bonding activities.

•The focus would then be on the group and activity and not just on her or specific friends. Insha’Allah, she will meet some nice girls and make lasting friendships.


As salamu alaykum,

Thank you for writing in to us. It is sad that many children suffer from poor self image and low self esteem due to the environment they are raised in. Children are constantly being bombarded with images from magazines, movies, TV, and other media as to what is “beauty”. It is truly disheartening when it begins to affect girls as young as 9 or 10 as they are still children.

Low Self-Esteem and Kids

I would kindly suggest removing any media (books,magazines, movies, TV shows) which are geared towards this ideal. As she likes to be “flattered”, I would compliment her on acts of kindness, charitable deeds, Qur’an recitation as well as other positive actions or words. Children usually continue to focus on and display interest in what they are commended for as well as what they are praised for.

My Daughter Has Low Self-Esteem, What to Do? - About Islam

I would also insha’Allah get your daughter enrolled in some Islamic classes for children which focus on the beauty of the heart (compassion, kindness, etc), of worship as well as intellectual abilities.

You may want to get her involved with children’s groups that go hiking, play games together, study Qur’an, go to fun places as well as other uplifting and bonding activities. The focus would then be on the group and activity and not just on her or specific friends. Insha’Allah, she will meet some nice girls and make lasting friendships.


Check out this counseling video


I would also suggest that you have her do some weekly charity work with other Muslim girls so that she can learn to take the focus off of herself and put it towards helping others.

Somehow, she has gotten the message that she is not “worthy” of love and acceptance. Please do look into her school environment to ensure she is not being bullied. Often times children who are bullied do not tell others, they suffer silently and it comes out in their behaviors such as low self esteem, inability to socialize, feeling anxious, preferring to be alone and sensitive to others perceptions of them. Insha’Allah, as frustrating as this may be, please do not yell at her as it is only re-enforcing the notion she is somehow “not good enough”.

With patience and redirection of activities, insha’Allah she will gain the correct perception of beauty and friendships as well as begin to love herself. Please do seek out the help of a child therapist in your area however if her mood and behaviors do not change with the above suggestions insha’Allah. Most of the time what you are describing is a part of growing and trying to find out where you fit in (hormonal-puberty). Mass media messages bombarding girls, and a lack of confidence and social skills can also play a part. However there is also a chance she may have depression, anxiety or a self-image disorder, therefore, it is best to rule it out if your efforts to correct it fail.

You are in our prayers, we wish you the best.

Salam

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

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About Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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