I had a disturbing thing happen tonight. While my 7 year old daughter was in the tub, I was folding towels and we were talking about being nice to others. She said that she's not nice and that she's bad. She meant it. In a split second, I realized that I needed to treat this statement seriously so I looked around the tub door and told her that she was not mean, she was a sweet person. I also, truthfully, said that she sometimes said or did bad things but that she wasn't a bad person. I don't know if she believed me but we went on to other things.
Thinking back on this conversation now, I know how easy it is for girls to feel badly about themselves, even at her age. From what I've observed, girls tend to want to please but they sometimes reach a point where they decide they can't please or maybe they've been told too many times that they aren't being nice and so they believe they are a bad person. Something like that. Carmen has been getting more and more, well, joyless. Sarcastic. She's funny a lot of the time because I don't expect such sardonic comments from her - I mean, she is ONLY 7, with a much more mature sense of humor than we expect of her. But with that sarcasm (which I try to quell) comes a child who perhaps sees things negatively. Perhaps her self-esteem is low and so her sarcasm is a product of that. Or the other way around. I don't know. I'm chattering here because I'm trying to make sense of this and wondering what I can do for her. Got any suggestions? I know there are several of you who have girls older than mine. Is this normal for a 7 year old girl? I have two older boys, so girlhood is all new for me. I was raised with 3 older sisters along with all the influence they had on me. I suspect it's the attitude of my 10 year old son who has had the most influence on Carmen. Which could explain a lot. Perhaps I need to work on his attitude and then it would rub off on her. No? Maybe? Or send them both to a good boarding school in Europe?
So ... how does one genuinely help a child to have better self-esteem? And, is that even the issue? I think we encourage her appropriately, not too much or too little and with sincerity. I can't let this go, I need to deal with this now or it will only grow. No, I'm not freaking, just being a parent.
Let me know what you think.