I think my daughter is lacking confidence: What can I do?

Alright, mommas, I’m going through something with my daughter, and she just turned 8. (A few of these things I’m going to mention I did notice at a younger age)( just not getting any better) She is a very smart and happy child. She has a few things going on…she strives to be perfect her school work, activities, board games. And if she falls short of 100% or winning at something she CANNOT handle it, she will break down crying, and there is nothing I can do to console her. It even comes down to her, not participating because she doesn’t want to lose. She had a hard time taking constructive criticism or anyone else’s view on something. Also, if she happens to maybe get in trouble anytime I try and talk things over with her, she will cry inconsolably. She also is having some issues with her confidence. Every week she is saying she needs to change something about herself, and I’m noticing everything she wants to change so that she can become more like one of her friends she will be talking about in school. Like her hair color, eye color, what she should eat, etc. or any time it’s a dress-up day or something along those lines at school. She will be so excited and want to participate and then when it comes to getting in the car to go to school. She will completely change her mind. She doesn’t want others to see her differently. I try my hardest to build her confidence and support her through everything, and when I sit her down to talk about things or maybe give her some expertise to try and help herself work through things, she puts up a wall … I’m at my breaking point, I only want what’s best for her and for her to be happy and enjoy life. I don’t know what to do !!

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The Big Life Journal has all kinds of resources for teaching kiddos about confidence, life, resiliency, etc. Art is a great way to move beyond the inner critic and find one’s own self expression.

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Maybe she’s being bullied in school? Like someone telling her things that are bringing her confidence down? Maybe talk to the parents of her friends and see if they have any insight?

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In my humble opinion, It sounds like possibly there’s a girl at school that runs a little chick clique and is lording over them being a snotty bully. When I was her age, there was a girl in my class that tried to boss all of the other little girls around. She would try to control and manipulate everyone by critiquing EVERYTHING they wore, ate, played or liked. She would bring little party favor type toys with her everyday, and give them out to people that did not question her, and followed her every command. If she doesn’t like you, she would tell everybody not to be friends with you. She was the classic bully you see and little girl cartoons. I’m no expert… But when I read this, it made me think of that girl, and the Havoc she wreaked on so many of my classmates.

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I relate to this so much. I felt just like that when I was younger. It might seem irrelevant but have there been any big life changes, a move, new school, divorce, death ? Sometimes these things leave kids feeling really helpless and that fear of lack of control can manifest itself in other areas. There’s also a book called “ The conscious parent”, that you mind find some helpful information in.

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She wants to fit in, she’s striving to achieve a certain look or persona. Until she finds out who she really is and what she likes and wants, all you can do is be there for her and cheer her on in the right direction.

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I felt like this. Take her out for ice cream, let her know that it’s okay to not be the best at everything. Have a one on one talk about how no one is the best at everything but it is always best to just be happy. Ask her what she enjoys doing and do more of it. Give her a whole day of smelling the roses and tell her life isn’t just who’s best at what.

Find her a new hobby she can have control in or a sport that’s independent like Gymnastics where she can work on skills herself an not have to worry about working in a team. I did gymnastic for 18 years an my self confidence flourished amazingly

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Mine was just like this . It took me signing her up for softball to where she will get “embarrassed “ if she was to cry infront of everyone and it built her confidence and made her come out of shell also a lot of one on one with each other in public places for her to see how she is not the only child and they all just want to be kids . Also when having a “serious” discussion to where she might feel she is in trouble I try to make her laugh by saying things like “ you are not supposed to be perfect you are a child your supposed to make mistakes “ or even saying it wouldn’t be fun for the parent if we couldn’t teach you something new or show you how to be a kid

maybe get her to a therapist

This in all honesty sound like something you need to speak with her doctor about.
It sounds like anxiety to me.
At this point identifying what is going on with her will be the key to helping her.

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Find her healthy groups outside of school so that she won’t feel such a need to fulfil it in school. Go do something fun together like a mommy and me spa day or shopping every couple of months. Have a girls day at home. Maybe she will open up to you. Maybe have her talk to someone outside of the home for support. Give her kind words. Put positive affirmation quotes around the house. Buy her maturity appropriate books about confidence and being unique. While we may not want to see cliques in school, there still are. And remember when you were young. It can be tough. So when she comes home and says well this girl had that really pretty shirt on and I would love to have it or I like that style listen to her. I wouldn’t do anything drastic like change her hair color, but if there is a certian brand or style that is age appropriate I would look into it. I wouldn’t say well you’re you and you don’t need to be like anyone else, because she isn’t going to listen. Find out how to compromise while she finds herself too.

Sounds like it could be anxiety… maybe try going through scenarios where where she does fail and talk about how that would make her feel, how she can learn from it, what’s the worst that can happen, etc… I found that helps a lot…

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Enroll her into a sport or marital arts.
She needs to find it within herself…its hard for a parent to help. Does she have an older sibling that’s a girl??? If not, maybe look into the big sister programs. Someone she can go hang out with who isnt a parent, who’s a older teen, who may be able to help her find herself.
It’s a thing all girls go through…shes an 8 year old girl, who MIGHT see girl “click” at school and want to be apart of it, want to be like those girls. She has to find herself. If she like horses…get her into riding.

I would have her talk with a therapist. It could be all sorts of things but a therapist could help find out and then guide you both to making things better

Dungeons and Dragons. She can work on who she is by pretending to be whatever she wants to be.

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You could try family therapy. Even if you just go a few times to help figure out what the problem is and go from there

Sounds like her friends are not real friends and there bullying her in a way. Telling her she would look better if or change something. I bet there not true friends

Social anxiety, perfectionist, and maybe missing a sense of belonging. Try sports, learning it’s okay to try and fail and it’ll help her be part of team. Culture helps with learning who you are and where you came from. Lots and lots of reassurance if something isn’t “perfect”. Mental health days when things are getting to her. Remember you are her go to, listen to what she needs and hopefully she’ll tell you.

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Try and really get her to activies she expresses interest in

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