Leilei asks:

How do I help my 10 year old deal with low self esteem brought on by early onset of puberty?

My daughter entered puberty at the tender age of 9. She will turn 11 in about 9 days and she is extremely self conscious of her appearance. She is at least 6 inches taller than her tallest classmate and overweight. In school, she refuses to do anything that might draw attention to her including participating in class or asking questions. She wears a hoodie all day (even when it is warm) and scrunches down in her seat with the hood up trying to "be invisible". She reports that classmates tease her constantly about her size, her breast development and her thick, curly hair. It is at a point where she is in tears after school every day and is now asking to be homeschooled or take online classes. I work fulltime and I don't know how well this would work as it would interfere with opportunities to socialize with her peers. I don't want her becoming agoraphobic (I think that is the term for folks who won't leave their homes out of fear of others) but I also hate to see her miserable everyday. Help!
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Self esteem and identity, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago



Dec 7, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

First, I think that you should see a counselor as soon as possible.  Sounds like your daughter might be depressed.

Second, you must talk to the school authorities regarding bullying.  They need to be aware and they must take steps to prevent that asap.  Bullying is a serious matter!

Third, address your daughter's concerns about her overweight.  There is nothing that can be done about one's height.  However, assuming that your daughter is healthy, she can do much about her weight.

Forth, focus on your daughter's strengths.  What is she good at?  Perhaps, she could participate in an after school activity that would allow her develop her skills in a certain area.

Suggested readings:

Encouraging high self-esteem


Your child's self-esteem starts with you


Relieving childhood stress


Precocious puberty




Healthy weight basics

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