New Look at Self Esteem: Teens
Our Kids through Adolescence
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys
The What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls
Girls, Sports and Self-Esteem
by Christine Ratliff
doesn't want their daughter to grow up strong - mentally as well as
physically? Through participation in sports, our daughters will come
to appreciate their bodies for reasons far more substantial than just
In the book, Gutsy Girls, by Tina Schwager and Michele Schuerger,
25 young women share their personal stories about determination, persistence,
courage and hard work. One gutsy girl, Rachel Cook - 1998 Teen Athlete
of the Year, whose hobbies include basketball, track and field, softball,
and cheerleading, says: "Because I'm an athlete, I've learned
how to stay focused. This helps me at school because I get more out
of my classes (which beats filling up a notebook with doodles). I've
come to understand the value of teamwork and self-reliance, and how
to balance the two. I've also discovered the importance of having
a positive attitude, even when things aren't going my way."
As parents we all know how valuable these qualities are and how they
will enrich the lives of our daughters. So, how do we get our daughters
to embrace them?
HURDLES: A LITTLE HARDER TO JUMP
shows that girls gradually lose self-esteem as they reach adolescence.
- In elementary
school, most girls have strong self-esteem and aren't afraid to voice
their thoughts. But once they hit their teens, their self-confidence
can go down the drain.
- In elementary
school, 45 percent of girls indicate that they have self-esteem, saying
that they are "good at a lot of things." But in middle school,
only 29 percent of girls say this.
YOU’RE SCARED, SAY SO
Ramona Rogers, a teacher, math competition chairperson and swim coach
at Rickards Middle School in Oakland Park, FL, believes we all have
an inner voice telling us we may not be good enough.
negative voices. This comes from our insecure inner self. We all try
to hide it, push it away or say it doesn't exist. The truth is that
it does exist in us all. Some of us are just better at defeating it
than others. Some of us are just better at ignoring it than others.
And some of us are just better at compromising with it than others.
positive ideas, traits and deeds into the minds of these young girls.
- Build confidence
through books, videos and seminars - all centered on accepting and
believing in themselves.
their positive attributes, strong upper body, nice shoulders, and
your daughter to believe that she is a wonderful person with wonderful
traits and not to allow insecurities to overshadow her possible athletic
UP COUCH POTATOES
What if your daughter is a couch potato, an online addict or generally
uninterested in anything physical? What can you do to motivate your
give adolescents a way to get involved and be part of a group.
are a great way to find your place and discover your strengths.
why getting fit is so important. You cannot force your child because
then she’ll just want to quit or get a bad taste in her mouth
- Help your
child find enjoyment in whatever it is she decides to do
- Talk to
she want to compete against herself or does she want to compete
she long to make new friends?
she prefer being indoors or outdoors?
she want to increase her strength or gain flexibility?
she still young enough to enjoy exercising with you? If she is,
jump at the chance - it will be good for both of you.
If low self-esteem
is the hurdle your daughter needs to get over, joining a team could
be just the boost she needs. If body image is a problem, encourage your
daughter and inform her that there is no such thing as a perfect body.
IS NOT AN OPTION
Or is it? We all want to teach our daughters the importance of commitment,
the value in following things through to completion. Inevitably, though,
from time to time, children may want to quit.
- If your
child is on a team, there is a commitment and she should follow through.
But if she wants to quit, you have to take that into account.
- Find out
why. It could be that your child is afraid to compete and fail. Or
she could be afraid of some skill she may be expected to learn down
the road or there may be some kind of intimidation going on.
When the going
We've all heard the expression, "When the going gets tough, the
tough get going." How do we help our children to hand in there
when things get difficult?
in your child the motivation to press on
her that she will have good days and bad days, but on the bad days
you must never think that you've failed
- Tell her
to ignore people who try to discourage her.
her to associate with positive people
your daughter to find the inspiration she needs by reading books about
other female athletes, books about overcoming fears, or by hanging
affirmation posters around her room.
your child that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is going
ahead and doing whatever it is you want to do, despite the fear.
The Girls' Guide to Life, Catherine Dee, Little Brown and Co., 1997
Throw Like a Girl, Beyond Words Publishing, 2000,
Gutsy Girls by Tina Schwager and Michele Schuerger, Scholastic Inc.,
American Association of University Women