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Avatar Alicia S
8yr old constantly says he's dumb.

MY 8yr old has changed from a quiet, sensitive, loving kid to an angry, unmotivated kid who constantly says he's dumb. We've tried reassuring him he is not (he is a very bright kid) but I'm not sure how to go about it. I also have a 5yr old and an 11 month old and admittedly he isn't getting as much attention as I would like. I try to praise him for everything he does and take time to cuddle him, but his teacher tells me he also says it at school. It breaks my heart that he feels this way & i think it is my fault. How can I make him understand he is a clever, funny, helpful little man who I am so proud of/

Jane ...
Answer: Hi, The fact that you're in contact with his teacher is great, perhaps she/he could suggest other ways of managing this? Does he need a referral to a school counsellor just to give him some additional support? Often bullying from other kids is at the core of this type of behaviour, have you looked into this? Boosting self esteem comes from self mastery and skill development so sports may help as well as group activities. It may also help to have him examined by your GP just to see that he is physically well. An eye and hearing test could be warranted. And think if perhaps by him saying this he is getting more attention and he's worked out that you respond. Some one on one time with him may help though I appreciate managing this in terms of time may be a challenge. Praise, though good can be delivered too much and too frequently for achievements that are really not all that deserving, I'm not saying this is the case with your boy but do consider if maybe he's had lots of praise for a very long time and now that he needs to share you he's feeling it. And where possible involve his dad as much as you can. From him your boy will learn what it means to be a male and what's involved in building self esteem. Best Jane
Answered: 14 Jun 2014