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Eleven year old with low self-esteem
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Eleven year old with low self-esteem

My daughter is eleven.  She is a beautiful, normal child in many ways.  But she always seems to be struggling.  She has a hard time with her schoolwork.  Her last report card was average with grades from 74 to 86.  I have nag her to start her homework.  It sometimes takes her three hours plus to finish it all.  She always wants me to help her get it done.  At school they told us homework should take about ninety minutes.  She oftem ends up crying before it's all over.  Then the next day it starts all over again.  
She has friends, but even that is a struggle.  It is usually she who is doing the inviting.  Her friends like her, but forget about her unless she calls.  Over the last three years, she has gone through periods when she is unhappy, and has mentioned wanting to die, although not recently.  She thinks she's ugly and has low self-esteem.  She does cheerleading, but is not real coordinated, so even though she goes to all the practices, isn't that good.  The well-meaning coach often points this out inadvertantly in front of everyone.  We've never really found anything she excels at, though she tries many things.  
Now she started basketball, and seems to be doing pretty well.  She has heart disease and asthma, and the basketball is rough on her physically.  She gets the kind of tired that lasts for days.  Also the basketball practice cuts into her homework problems.  So far we've been getting through it and I'm praying basketball will help her self-esteem.
One last thing, she has an aversion to buttons and string.  She won't wear buttons at all and thinking about buttons or string gags her.
I'm hoping you will tell me that all this is not too unusual for a fifth grader.  I love her so much and will do anything I can to help her.
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Dear Anne,

The problems you describe are not something to be alarmed about, but they represent some difficulties that might warrant investigation.

Has your daughter been evaluated in regard to her learning? The profile you describe is typical of many children who display some form (usually in the verbal areas) of learning disability, resulting in things not coming easily and in the child having chronic struggles in school, particularly as the demands of the curriculum become more challenging and complicated.

She may also display Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, judgin by her symptoms in relation to buttons and string. This could be assessed via an evaluation by a pediatric mental health professional, and would probably be a wise course to follow, particularly as she is entering adolescence (a time when conditions such as OCD tend to become more prominent).
6 Comments
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My son is 11, small for his age, he gets good grades, like school but he is always getting picked on by numerous different kids at school and on the bus. I see his self esteem getting lower and lower each day, he's to the point that it doesen't matter if he gets his school work done, he was always very good about his homework, now he's lies about his work, and about the kids at school picking on him.
How do I as a parent help him and what can I do about the other kids.
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Avatar_n_tn
My son is 11, small for his age, he gets good grades, like school but he is always getting picked on by numerous different kids at school and on the bus. I see his self esteem getting lower and lower each day, he's to the point that it doesen't matter if he gets his school work done, he was always very good about his homework, now he's lies about his work, and about the kids at school picking on him.
How do I as a parent help him and what can I do about the other kids.
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Avatar_n_tn
We have a 10 year old boy who doesn't have many friends (none his age) and lies about homework as well.  You aren't alone and I'm curious to find out what is wrong.  I've been to so many websites, spoken with so many professionals and have started reading books.  His behavior and speech is as if he were 5 years old and he gets along best with children of that age group.  He says he is picked on by both the boys and the girls and his father has seen girls picking on him after school.  Let's hope that someone has some good suggestions or advice for us both.
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You need to seek profesional help for your daughter before her current way of living becomes her only way of living.  The behaviour she is displaying certainly does indicate a serious psychological disorder, something she can break through but not without some real guidance.   I speak from experience....coming from an emotionally dysfunctional family that included an extremely withdrawn and ghostly mother and a self-absorbed, snarling father.  I suffered from hideously low self-esteem which manifested itself in various ways and I think now that if my mother or a loving presence had intervened I would not be struggling with major depression, or letting it totally envelope me, at the now age of 21.  Your willingness to explore your child's problem/s is a beautiful thing, but it sounds as if you cannot do it alone. Look into your family history, it may reveal signs of genetic mental illness, look at yourself, what kind of self image do you portray?
Catch her demons before they grow too powerful and her little hell becomes her entire world.  Good luck...she only needs how to remember to be happy.
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Avatar_n_tn
You need to seek profesional help for your daughter before her current way of living becomes her only way of living.  The behaviour she is displaying certainly does indicate a serious psychological disorder, something she can break through but not without some real guidance.   I speak from experience....coming from an emotionally dysfunctional family that included an extremely withdrawn and ghostly mother and a self-absorbed, snarling father.  I suffered from hideously low self-esteem which manifested itself in various ways and I think now that if my mother or a loving presence had intervened I would not be struggling with major depression, or letting it totally envelope me, at the now age of 21.  Your willingness to explore your child's problem/s is a beautiful thing, but it sounds as if you cannot do it alone. Look into your family history, it may reveal signs of genetic mental illness, look at yourself, what kind of self image do you portray?
Catch her demons before they grow too powerful and her little hell becomes her entire world.  Good luck...she only needs how to remember to be happy.
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