Every parent wants the best for their children and its sometimes painful to see when your child cannot see their own potential through lack of Self-Esteem.

Most children will have dips in self-esteem as they go through different stages or challenges in life. Starting a new school, moving house, changes in the family and many other factors can affect a child’s feeling of self-worth.

Some children seem to have low self-esteem from an early age - this may be partly down to their personalities, or they may have had an unsettled time as a baby or toddler.

Other children develop low self-esteem following a difficult time such as divorce, bereavement or being bullied or abused, and can’t bounce back.

Teenagers with low self-esteem can find it very hard to cope with pressures from school, peers, and society. Children and young people with low self-esteem are more at risk of developing depression, anxiety, self-harming, and other mental health problems as they grow up and will often find the ups and downs of life in general harder to get through.

“The primary resource predicting the success or failure of each person as a human being is a precious energy known as "self-esteem".”

From Self-Esteem, "Tribes" The Key to Life by Jeanne Gibbs

Other pressures of modern life for children and young people are having a real impact on their self-esteem.

·       cyberbullying,

·       bullying,

·       body-image expectations,

·       academic expectations,  

·       gang culture,

·       the pandemic

·       global anxiety

are just some of the difficult things that young people are trying to grapple with.

Has your child ever been unfortunate enough to?

•          Have a negative image of themselves and may feel bad, ugly, unlikeable, or stupid

•          Lack confidence

•          Find it hard to make and keep friendships and may feel victimised by others

•          Feel lonely and isolated

•          Tended to avoid new things and find change hard

•          Be unable deal well with failure.

•          Tended to put themselves down and might say things like “I’m stupid” or “I can’t do that” (before they have tried)

•          Have not been proud of what they achieve and always think they could have done better

•          Are constantly comparing themselves to their peers in a negative way

So, what can make the difference for your child and help restore his/her self-esteem and worth?

Well! Anyone who’s spent any time studying a martial art likely has a story or two to talk about how it helped to make them feel more in control, more powerful, more disciplined, and all-around better about themselves.  Beyond the countless anecdotal accounts of how training can and has made us feel surer of ourselves, there’s also mounting scientific evidence out there to document the psychological benefits of the Martial Arts.

And those benefits extend far beyond the confidence that comes with being able to defend yourself – or even perform well in a grading test or competition it helps children (and adults!)

•          To have a positive image of themselves

•          Be confident

•           Make friends easily and are not anxious with new people

•          Play in groups or on their own

•          Try and solve problems on their own, but if not able to will ask for help

•          Be proud of their achievements

•          Admit mistakes and learn from them

•          Will try new things and adapt to change

This is true for me, my time in training in Martial Arts is both my “outlet” and “oasis” and it gives me a way to manage everything from stress levels to self-control.

It’s also something that I hope to share with others.

Iain McKinstry September 2021