It can be hard to hear your daughter being self-critical but, sadly, this is something that many mums have to go through.
As a parent, seeing or hearing your child putting themselves down can be upsetting, but it is important you approach it with a calm head to be able to help her.
A lot of self-criticism can be due to the fact that your child is a bit of a perfectionist, but there are plenty of things you can do to help them feel more confident.
1. Acknowledge your daughter’s feelings
Don’t fob off their concerns with a “don’t be silly” response; they need to know that they are loved so tell them that before pointing out their strengths and talents. Also, avoid being overly emotionally when trying to reassure your child. This is because your reassurance may not seem as credible to them than if you said it in a supportive and realistic tone.
2. Ask her why she feels this way
It is important you help your child understand their feelings so they are better able to control their emotions. Ask her why she feels this way, in a calm and inquisitive tone - this will help her to process her feelings and put things in perspective. Kids will generally self-criticise when things don’t go their way, so make sure they know that making a mistake doesn’t mean they are stupid.
3. Try to avoid over-praising
Sometimes a child’s self-criticism is down to their perfectionism, which can be aggravated by constant praising. And while it is important to praise her when she has done good work, try to phrase it in a way that points out the effort they made: “Well done, you made a really good effort”.
4. Help her understand her frustrations
Most of her self-criticisms will come from her frustrations to a situation that she cannot control or a mistake she made in school. Instead of focussing on her feelings, talk about the task at hand and help her find a way to fix it. Teaching her coping strategies will mean she will be better able to handle future difficulties.