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low self esteem in a kindergartener? please help!

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Old 02-25-2005, 09:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2004
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arock HB User
low self esteem in a kindergartener? please help!

i have an almost 6yo little boy in kindergarten. i'm a stay home mom, and he had only about 2-3 mos of preschool. he's always been a sensitive kid, extremely bright, artistic, courteous and caring toward others. now he's in (a very small, nice) public school with a bunch of rambunctious kids and doesn't seem to be handling it very well. just had his 2nd parent teacher conference this afternoon and apparently he's been crying and basically shutting down in class. when i pick him up after school he's almost always happy and smiling, telling me he had an a+ day. at home he's perfect, we seldom have cause for complaint. i've never seen him have problems with other kids, unless they get rough, which he doesn't like.

i just don't know what to do. he seems to be having self-esteem issues, but he's just a little kid! his home is based in a very strong marriage, and is more or less picture perfect, really. dog, cat, fish, mom, dad, big backyard, bike, soccer, gymnastics, plenty of praise, tons of books, art supplies, you name it. why is my baby unhappy?? this parent teacher conference is a repeat of the first, 3 months ago. "academics are great, he seems to have problems with his self image." i am at my wits end. i feel like a failure as a mother. what have i been doing staying home all these years, just ruining my child? if anyone can offer any advice i would surely appreciate it.

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Old 02-26-2005, 06:03 AM   #2
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Re: low self esteem in a kindergartener? please help!

Okay, this is what strikes me reading your post. The FACT is that your son is having some trouble adjusting to kindergarten. It is pure CONJECTURE on the teacher's part that his difficulty is due to poor self-esteem. Perhaps your son does have self-esteem issues, but we don't know that for a fact, do we? Sounds to me like he acts like a perfectly well-adjusted kid outside of school.

Is it possible that it's easier for the teacher to say your son has problems than to admit that SHE has not been able to get through to him and to make him feel safe?

My advise is this. First, talk to your son. Ask him if school is scary. It so, what in particular scares him? If you can get him to open up, perhaps you and the teacher can come up with a plan to make him feel more secure.

Failing that, a few sessions with a play therapist might be useful to find out what is troubling him at school. My gut feeling is that it wouldn't take long to isolate what it is and to come up with a plan to deal with it.

I do understand how you feel. Us-moms are soooo quick to blame ourselves and to look for what WE'VE done wrong. I do the same thing. What I'm saying is don't be so quick to blame yourself. Instead, use your energies for finding out what is overwhelming your son at school.

Just my humble opinions, of course!

Old 02-27-2005, 01:17 PM   #3
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Re: low self esteem in a kindergartener? please help!

I could have written this post myself! Same situation but mine dates back as my son is almost ten now.
I too stayed home and had the preschool, play groups, etc. When he started preschool I kept getting calls from his teacher about the exact same thing. He wasn't crying but would not interact with other kids. He prefered the girls over the boys and the girls wanted nothing to do with boys. Poor kid would wander around the playground until the 1st grade looking for shells in rocks.
I was worried sick and had a many a sleepless night.
Second year of preschool his teacher was calling me telling me basically the same stuff, not interacting with kids etc... She however put a more postive spin on it and told me he saw the boys as somewhat Primal in their play, too loud and rambuctious. She told me he was a very smart kid and had a gentle spirit. KG was a little better but not much. Big developement in KG was he was above average in terms of academics as the rest of the kids, so much so they bumped him up a grade three days a week for reading and math. This carried on through the 1st grade at which point they closed his small public school only to send him to the largest school in our district almost 600 kids.
I was so scared for him I can't even tell you. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. There were so many more kids to choose from and more that were intellecually where he was at.
Like the previous poster said this is ONE teacher telling you this. You know your child better than anyone else. Talk with him and find out what is so upsetting about KG. It can be very overwhelming to kids. My Daughter starts this spring and she is so scared.
Sounds like you provide a great home life. Teachers can be wrong, this much I have learned. They even suspect my son is gifted, hence he was just having a hard time fitting in. To this day he will have one or two good friends a year but that is fine. Better to have a few good friends than more in #'s I always say. Hang In There and go with you Instincts xo

Last edited by Bell99; 02-27-2005 at 01:18 PM.

Old 02-28-2005, 11:55 AM   #4
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besafe20 HB User
Re: low self esteem in a kindergartener? please help!

This post really struck me. Your son sounds like a sweatheart and you are doing a great job! Staying home with your kids is the best thing a mom can do (if possible) because they learn from you and not outside influences. I am not too suprised though because guess what? Those kids in his class come from who knows what kind of families and probably spent a lot of time in daycare so they are not gentle and tenderhearted like your son. Imagine how hard it is for him to adjust to that kind of environment when he is used to being with you in a safe stable environment. My mom stayed home with my brother and I and we experienced the same thing in preschool and kindergarden. Those other kids can be mean and when they see a kid whos not they become a target. I cannot believe the teacher said your son has self-esteem issues! What is she a psychologist?!? I think your son is fine and will adjust to school like other kids in his situation do.

Old 02-28-2005, 12:23 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2004
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arock HB User
Re: low self esteem in a kindergartener? please help!

thank you all so much! your kind words have literally brought tears to my eyes. being a mom is the most rigorous challenge i have ever been faced with and it is such a comfort to know that others have gone through what i'm dealing with. i know that kindergarten is a temporary condition, as childhood, i had had such high hopes that he would be happily occupied there. and i was taking the teacher's lead on this instead of listening to my own gut instincts. i'm going to visit his classroom today and maybe a few more days this week to check out for myself what's going on in there. wish me luck!

and thank you again, i so appreciate your caring support. ali

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