Children with anxiety are more prone to poor self-esteem when compared to their un-anxious peers. Here are seven ways we can help our children build self-esteem. 

Children with anxiety are more prone to poor self-esteem when compared to their un-anxious peers.  

Selectively mute children may suffer from poor self-esteem simply because of their inner frustration and confusion over their inability to speak. Parents, teachers and professionals may not understand the SM child’s silence. This, in turn, makes suffering in silence that much more debilitating for our children. 

Here are five words to consider when aiming to maintain your child’s self-esteem: 

  • TRUST 

SM children often feel scared and alone in their silence. As a result, they often become more dependent on their parent(s) and less autonomous. Relationships are often affected, especially as the child ages and others become less understanding of the SM child’s inability to speak and interact as others do. Therefore, intimacy with others is affected. Parents tend to try and protect their child from feeling scared or upset. They often protect the child so much that the child becomes more dependent and does not develop the ability to care for themselves as other same age children often do.  

Building self-esteem is crucial to a child’s feeling of self worth. With increased self-esteem comes confidence which is a crucial element needed in overcoming Selective Mutism.  

Here are seven ways we can help our children build self-esteem 

Convey to your child that you understand their ‘inability’ and/or ‘difficulty’ speaking. Let them know that you are there to help them feel more comfortable. This enables your child to TRUST you and feel safe 

Highlight your child’s positive attributes. Find opportunities for the child to succeed.
Maybe it’s art, sports, music or writing. When a child SUCCEEDS, self-esteem automatically increases.   

Help your child increase their independence. Push them by giving them achievable moments to be independent. Whether that’s in school, in the real world, or even at home.  

Giving your child additional responsibility. Ask them to make their lunch. Have them fold their laundry. Teach them how to feed your pet.     

Be consistent. All children do their best with routine and structure. Help them succeed by being consistent with the environment you’re putting them in, the tasks you’re giving them, and the expectations you’re setting.

Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Accept them, and do not judge them.  

Praise their efforts. Letting your child know that they did a great job. For some children, that’s all they need. Understand where your child is in terms of their child’s ability to communicate. Expecting a completely mute child to say hello or whisper goodbye is often close to impossible. For this child, a simple nod or smile is a major accomplishment that should be praised.