SELF ESTEEM? How do I help this kid!?!?


Worn out warrior
This poor kid. Yet ANOTHER girl has played a nasty game on him. We were at a local carnival the other nite, M's "buddy", 'C' went along. They were playing this game and were both flirting with this girl they both know. She ended up giving 'C' her phone number, then she wrote her phone number on M's hand! M was in his glory, needless to say. I mentioned about her giving her # to his buddy, too, and didn't want to see them ending up fighting over this girl. He said they're just "friends" and 'C' is already going out with- someone, that it's not an issue. OK!?!
So the next night, I take them both up for awhile, left them there to run amuck
Picked them up, and on the way home, they started talking about this girl. Don't remember specifically what was said leading up to 'C' telling M "Dude, she doesn't like you!" I heard a hesitation from M, then he asked "In what way?" 'C' said "at all! she said you're annoying!" M never said a word from that point about her
- quickly changed the subject. I proceeded to take him to work from there, then took 'C' home. I asked him why this girl did this and why she bothered to give him her phone # if she didn't like him. He said she "felt bad" for him. I told him it was pretty nasty of her to "boost" him up like that and should have just declined giving him her number instead.

I've not talked to M any further about this, but intend to. He has always gone overboard to try to impress people. Thinks he's "all that" and is "wonderful" at everything he does. Has always been a "show off" and tries to come off as a tough guy and mr. popularity. Unfortunately, the sad truth is he's none of that. BUT he CAN be if he let his guard down and his true self come out, but for God knows what reason, he doesn't!!! M can be a very caring, generous, loving, gentle person. IS alot of the time, but not when he's with peers. Just HAS to fit in. Have heard from more than one of his "friends" from time to time about him being a "show off", etc.

I just don't know what to do for him!!! Don't see this boot camp program working for him where that's concerned. Have mentioned to his therapist about working on him with- his self esteem, but she hasn't - although she hasn't seen much of him since he started working because of scheduling.

He'll be a senior this year. TOUGH grade to be in. Want to help as much as I can.

Any clues!?! Thanks!

husband of 20 years
17 year old male, diagnosis'd COBPD, ODD, CD, Borderline (BPD), etc., etc., Depakote 1500mg/day and Zyprexa 10mg/day

"Parenthood was never meant to be easy. If it was, it wouldn't start with labor"

ICQ# 41766531

Hey Dee!

Funny when I read your post the first thought that came into my head was "with friends like this who needs enemies!"

How can your son really be sure that this girl doesn't like him? On the say so of his friend who obviously also likes this girl?

I think that your son needs to take a chance and call the girl himself and find out for sure. He needs to take his own chances not go by the opinions of others. If she really isn't interested then she will tell him so!

And Dee - you tend to be a tad over-protective of your kids! Lessons of love are something that you really can't protect you son from dear! Let him handle this on his own! Sometimes real life lessons are the best teachers!


2-difficult child's & 1-easy child

12 y/o is heading for court - two charges of mischief so far this year.

11 y/o is once again not going to school again this year.

Both are in a group home for an undetermined period. We are currently doing the family counselling thing - a lot of issues to work out after the boys tried to burn another home down. Trust is the biggie, along with the school problem!

easy child is doing better! This year ended very well for her and next year should be even better if the SW don't screw it up by placing difficult child in the same school!


New Member
Oh Dee,

That is so sad. I believe that will be my difficult child's fate too! That is a cruel joke to do because you feel badly for them? Talk about a -B- !!!! Or, someone with bad social skills too!

Not sure what you can do to help build him up! They seem to get so much of that sense from their peers later in teens! My son always says, Oh mom that's because you love me!

How I ache for him and all our difficult child's who expeience 10x the hurt that other teens do!



-Adam(difficult child), 13 years old
Adderall,Dexedrine,clonidine,depakote,Risperdal! !IN Residential Treatment Center (RTC) since 11/23/99. 2nd time in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), 5 acute care stays. Tenative Discharge date 8/00.Kicked out of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and taken back after stabilization in acute care hospitals(s).
-Diag: ADHD/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)(Aspergers?)
-Almost 4 year old easy child girl. Questioning easy child right now!!Very caring and supportive SO. I am hoping we can tag team(co-parent)and keep difficult child here at home.
Try, try, try again! When can I just give up?


Worn out warrior
Originally posted by Carol:

And Dee - you tend to be a tad over-protective of your kids! Lessons of love are something that you really can't protect you son from dear! Let him handle this on his own! Sometimes real life lessons are the best teachers!
Carol, I agree with you wholeharteadly about being over protective of my kids.
I'm not trying to protect M here and realize that he's got to learn some things on his own. What I'm trying to do is help him gain some self-esteem and faith in himself to be able to handle such situations. That maybe one day BECAUSE he's got some confidence and not coming off as "all that" that a girl will give him her phone number and anxiously await his call. I'm not trying to do for him and live his life, but guide him and advise him here. This is a struggle he's had all of his life and he's coming to a point where his actions and behaviors are going to matter and make a difference - unfortunately he does NOT see that and I'm not sure he will if I am not able to give him a nudge here. Guess you had to be there......

husband of 20 years
17 year old male, diagnosis'd COBPD, ODD, CD, Borderline (BPD), etc., etc., Depakote 1500mg/day and Zyprexa 10mg/day

"Parenthood was never meant to be easy. If it was, it wouldn't start with labor"

ICQ# 41766531

If your son is anything like my daughter he will take any guidance and direction from you as an attack on him.Maybe you could just hug him and tell him things will get better and there is someone out there for him,she just wasn't the right one. I don't know if that would work with him butif I do anything more than that with my daughter we end up in a blow up. This way lets him know you care,but still leaves the problem in his hands to deal with. Love and luck to you.

Too often we think of self esteem as an ingredient in the recipe that makes up a person; like sugar in cookie dough. It's not that simple. Self esteem is not AN anything; not ONE of something; that you can inject or insert or install.

Self esteem. Look at it's pieces.

Self is the center of it all, of course. And our children have a lot of confusion about who and how and what they are as individuals. Their definition of self often revolves around what they think they are not. They are not submissive; they are not wimps; they are not chicken; they are not yah dah yah dah yah dah. All this oppositional and negative definition is the core of their definition of themselves. But where do they define who or how they ARE?

So before we even get to esteem, let's see what we can do to help our kids define self. For a younger child, it can be during quiet time alone, curled up on a couch, watching tv or reading, or hugging in one of those rare peaceful moments between storms and earthquakes.

However, with the seventeen year old you have to approach it totally differently. So approach it like you would if you were talking to a young adult who is NOT your kid. Imagine that you have a young mother move in next door. She has two babies, bad hair, a sweet nature, but no assurance of her value as a valid person. How to encourage her?

A tool that Blondie has used is a "personal inventory". Look at it as collecting data for a resume. You ask the young adult to help you develop a resume workshop for junior high kids. Ask this young adult to write down a list of the characteristics they have that they believe are good, and /or would help someone decide to hire them, admit them to school, or recommend them for a position or office in student government, for example.

The purpose of this is to see if this young person can identify things in themselves that are valid. Can this young woman or man self validate? You may need to help, to suggest starting places.

Example: Hygiene. If your kid is a fanatic about clean hair (to the extent that you would really like to have insurance that covered shampoo!) then list "personal hygiene / clean hair / good grooming. These are valid characteristics and priorities in the work / social / public world. It's not Blarney!

Have the kid, or the neighbor, keep this list, and keep adding to it. Talk about it every once in awhile. This inventory will be a very valuable tool for the young person to build an objective view of themselves; and that objectivity will help them present their assets in future interviews and working environments.

Now, esteem. Esteem is the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you recognize that you're actually an OK person. Now, if you don't know your Self as a valid piece of flesh, there is nothing in the esteem department. Esteem is where you reinforce the value of the characteristics of self that you see as valid. Children learn that they are valuable and valid when they actually hear and feel from their adults that they are being and doing good stuff.

Never tell a kid that he is loved because he is being good.

Instead, tell him that he is wonderful because of the specific thing he did that was good. Example: Fuzz, I am so proud of you for helping the neighbor lady with that yard work. She really has a hard time doing that herself.

Did I say self esteem? no. Did he get some? yep. And he knows that it is valid praise and he actually earned it.

For the teen in the meat market of dating: one piece of advice for the young men.

Always treat a young lady like she is a lady. If it turns out that she isn't, you don't have to date her again. But if it turns out that she is, you will be way ahead of the guys who don't treat her like she is something wonderful and special. And you, young man, deserve to fall in love with someone who is wonderful and special.

End of sermon. Sorry I dragged this on so long!!!

Pico, please, please archive this! Your advice is too valuable to lose. I'd tried getting Jess to list her assets, but never got very far because she could no reason to do it, but as an exercise for a resume, WOW!!! Thank you!

Single mom to 13 year old girl (adopted at 4-1/2). Severe ODD, moderate CD, mild Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), faulty reasoning, severely passive-aggressive.


That was great!! I will copy it and save it. I was going to add my 2 cents worth here. The girl who gave him her phone # even though presumedly she doesn't like him did indeed give him her phone #. She was trying to be kind to him. IF he truly is annoying to her perhaps he could try and see what it is that is annoying and perhaps not do that anymore.

Maybe you could use this as a learning experience for him to examine his behavior to see why people/friends/girls find his behavior annoying and perhaps how he could change it.

Maybe he could call her one day. Keep the conversation short and non-annoying and then when he runs into her this summer try REALLY, REALLY hard to get her attention by not being annoying.

Just a thought.


Marcie Mac

Just Plain Ole Tired
This must be a teenage thing - it was so funny (not ha ha funny) to read this post as I picked up my difficult child and friend from the mall yesterday and friend was really ragging on difficult child for not asking this girl they saw for her phone number.

I could tell my son was a bit uncomfortable with the joking, tho he was joking back. So just got them to change the subject by saying jeeze, what kind of girl can be picked up at the mall, they they started laughing about different kinds of girls who hang out at different malls.

Maybe he just wasn't ready to ask for the phone number, maybe he didn't even find the girl his type, maybe he wanted to ask but because of him being in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) during the week felt it wasn't going to go anywhere with the girl, maybe it was fear of rejection.

I think the whole thing is just the growing up process for boys that they need to cope with, and girls as well obviously-you and I know that was a cruel thing for this girl to say (if she indeed said that)- but then again you and I are mature adults who have learned to handle situations like this, if it had happened to us, on a more diplomatic level, but only learned that from experience.

My daughter is doing a therapy class on self esteem - she had to write down what she thought were the good points about herself - she came up with two, and that was a struggle. Then had to ask 5 other people she knew outside the class to do the same about her.
None of us had to even think very hard about our lengthly lists of her good points, and she was pretty amazed to find out that 5 different people all found a long list of similar good things about her.

As for giving him more self esteem, I would just keep reinforcing your sons good points -and sometime down the line he will find a girl friend who will do the same.


Tell him there are plenty fish in the sea...and that he will "catch" his one day-the right one!

It sounds like she "lead" your son to believe he had a chance to get closer to her. Boys are so cruel though. "C" could have been a lil more tactful about the way he told "M" about the girl and what she said.

Tell him to get over it and move on.

Good luck,

Susie :p

Me: 31/F/Er nurse...
My SO: 43/M/Construction superintendent
My son: Bobby (difficult child) 12 yrs old (7/7)-latest diagnosis: Pervasive Development Disorder, ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Emotional disturbance, I'm sure I forgot some...LOL
His kids: Corey 13/Male and AJ: 19/Male (both used to be easy child's--ha-how things change with puberty).ggggrrrrr



Just wanted to say sorry Dee for being overly critical - re-read what I wrote hon and might have come on a bit to strong!

But M is 17 and has to learn how to deal with this stuff - he should find out from the girl if this is the way that she really feels rather than taking his friends opinion to heart! M could come out of this pleasantly surprised - or totally heartbroken - but he won't know until he tries! LOL! C may not be the best judge of this situation (sometimes even best friends can be total S**Tourette's Syndrome!). This could be a growing eperience for your son!

Pico - once again I love what you have to say dear! by the way - did you get my email?