Eye to eye: Teaching children self esteem

By Barbara Amaya, Communities Digital News
Article from http://www.commdiginews.com/life/
Posted on May 8 2014

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2014 — Self esteem is a critical element in helping children to avoid becoming victims of human trafficking. Parents and teachers can help build self esteem in children and teenagers, helping them avoid predators who target vulnerable children.

According to Fairfax County police Detective Bill Woolf, convicted human traffickers target potential victims and look specifically for girls who exhibit low self esteem.

Woolf says traffickers will target girls and ask specific questions like, “You know your super beautiful don’t you girl?” Or “Did anyone ever tell you that you could be a model?”

Traffickers also know when a girl looks down at her feet instead of maintaining eye contact they have found the perfect victim, because it is a symptom of low self esteem. Those with lose self esteem are easy to manipulate and control.

A simple change in body language can make a huge difference. Maintaining eye contact will show the trafficker that the individual is not a victim and is confident. A strong response will throw them off guard and likely make them lose interest.

Teaching young at risk populations that it is ok to say no is also important to help them fight potentially damaging situations. Teens who have been taught to be polite and never question authority are sadly at risk for becoming victims. While teachers and parents teach young people to always listen and be polite they must also stress that it’s important to first listen to that inner voice or conscience  inside that says something’s is wrong.

What exactly is self esteem anyway? Self-esteem is all about how much we feel valued, loved, and thought of by others — how much we value, love, and accept ourselves. Children and teens with healthy self-esteem are able to feel good about themselves, appreciate their own worth, and take pride in their abilities, skills, and accomplishments.

Children and teens with low self-esteem may feel as if no one will like them or accept them or that they can’t do well in anything. These children will look for love and acceptance wherever they can find it often in the wrong places.

Human beings all experience problems with self-esteem at some point in their lives, especially during the confusing teenage years. The good news is that, because everyone’s self-image changes over time, self-esteem is not fixed forever.

Praising children for a job well done is always great, but don’t overdo it. In fact, by over-praising kids, we are doing more harm than good.  We are lowering the bar and if we keep telling our children they are already doing a fantastic job, were saying they no longer need to push themselves.  But confidence comes from doing, from trying and failing and trying again. Letting them learn by taking age appropriate risks is a way for them to grow healthy self esteem.

When children do fail make sure they know they are loved unconditionally and help them to set age appropriate goals, encourage them to help around the house and to pursue their own interests. Sports are always good for learning team work, working together and learning how to win and lose gracefully.

In today’s hectic world, spending quality time with your children and helping them be the best they can be and feel loved is more important than ever.

Children who are looking for love and acceptance will find it wherever they can. Love, acceptance, family, discipline, self worth for completing tasks (no matter what the tasks are) are all things a normal child looks for and needs. If the parents and family are not providing these, then there are predators and traffickers who will. When a child victim of human trafficking is rescued, unless the trafficker bond is broken through established protocols, the child will seek to return to the trafficker. The child does not think the trafficker is evil, they feel they are running back to the only person who understands and accepts them.

Building self esteem in the children in our lives should start early and continue throughout childhood. Building esteem in teenagers at a time when they are facing body changes peer pressure and more requires different mindset. A conflict may seem small to us, but to a teenager, it could be a major problem in their lives.  By supporting your child through the good and the bad you will be laying a strong foundation for open communication when bigger challenges come around.  When things are going well, remind your teenager that you are always there to listen and help in any way that you can.  Knowing they have a parent who loves and accepts them can help build their self-esteem over time.

Ask the children and teens in your life the questions below.

Which of these would you try as a way to build your self-esteem?
  • Think of something I’d like to accomplish and make a plan for doing it
  • Reduce self-critical thoughts
  • Let go of the need to always be perfect in all I do
  • Remind myself that mistakes are always learning opportunities, not failures
  • Put effort into doing and being the best I can be

All of these are great ways for helping to build self esteem and confidence.

Taking the time in our busy lives to make sure the children in our lives are the very best they can be is so important.

Make sure it is a priority in your own life today.

Barbara Amaya, Communities Digital News
Article from http://www.commdiginews.com/life/
Posted on May 8 2014

High Self-Esteem Equals Fewer Health Problems For Seniors

Posted: 03/13/2014 9:50 am EDT Updated: 03/13/2014 11:59 am EDT
Article from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

A healthy body starts with a happy mind for seniors, a new study shows. Research led by Concordia University's Center for Research in Human Development suggests that feelings of self-confidence and worth correlate to a lower incidence of health problems.

While self-esteem and confidence issues are often associated with awkward teenagers and growing pains, older adults can also experience difficulty with their feelings of worth as they grow older. Previous studies have shown that self-esteem begins to decline in old age as people start to deal with empty nests, retirement, and the onset of health problems.

Researchers looked at 147 adults ages 60 and up and measured their self-esteem, cortisol, perceived stress levels, and any depressive symptoms over a four-year period. Participants with lower self-esteem were found to have higher cortisol levels. The effects were even more pronounced in people with a history of depression and stress. Too much of the stress hormone can have negative side effects like weight gain, sleep problems, digestive issues, and even memory impairment.

"Because self-esteem is associated with psychological wellbeing and physical health, raising self-esteem would be an ideal way to help prevent health problems later in life," study author Sarah Liu said in a release.

One way older adults can maintain and improve their self-esteem is to socialize and prevent isolation, Liu said, as loneliness can be a major health concern in older adults. A recent University of Chicago study estimated that loneliness can increase the chances of premature death by up to 14 percent.

"Improving self-esteem provides real health benefits in seniors," Liu said. "The ultimate solution may be to prevent self-esteem from declining."

Health experts say older people can increase their self esteem by taking care of their health and appearance, volunteering, and managing their free time.

Posted: 03/13/2014 9:50 am EDT Updated: 03/13/2014 11:59 am EDT
Article from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Science Links Selfies to Narcissism, Addiction & Low Self Esteem

Christie Barakat on April 16, 2014 1:30 PM
Posted from http://socialtimes.com/
Selfies narcissism

The Daily Mirror recently told the story of teenager Danny Bowman, an aspiring model who attempted suicide because he wasn’t satisfied with the quality of his selfies. Bowman had become technology-addicted and selfie-obsessed and is currently undergoing therapy for OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (an excessive anxiety about personal appearance).

Bowman’s unhealthy addiction to peer approval via myriad selfie posts began at the age of 15, when he received comments about his appearance on Facebook. “They told me that my body was the wrong shape to be a model and that my skin wasn’t up to scratch. I was mortified,” he recalled.

Bowman was eventually taking up to 80 selfies before leaving for school in the morning. As his addiction worsened, he lost weight — binging only on selfies — and dropped out of school. Bowman’s parents, both mental health nurses, were desperate to help their son after he was rushed to the hospital for an attempted overdose on pills.

Selfie addiction is a new pathology, often related to past bullying and low self-esteem. According to Time, psychiatrists are beginning to consider the compulsion to take selfies as a serious mental health problem.

“The common treatment is where a patient gradually learns to go for longer periods of time without satisfying the urge to take a photograph, along with therapy to address the root cause of the problem,” psychiatrist Dr. David Veale told the Daily Mirror.

Veale said that since the rise of camera phones, two out of three of his patients suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and compulsively take selfies. “Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help a patient to recognize the reasons for his or her compulsive behavior and then to learn how to moderate it.”

As the San Jose Mercury News reports, teenagers are among the largest group of storytellers. “According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of teens have posted a photo of themselves online. Many also use photo messaging applications such as Snapchat to attach text.”

When we get so distracted by the marketing of ourselves, we can lose touch with our authentic identities and struggle to build real relationships, says Lucie Hemmen, a Santa Cruz clinical psychologist and author of Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter.

“There’s a continuum of health and authenticity in what you shoot and post,” she says. “A secure, mature person is going to post selfies that are spontaneous and not overly engineered or edited, and they’re going to do it less often. A more insecure person is going to post staged or sexualized photos, and they’re going to do it so much that they become consumed by it and the comments they receive.”

Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Boston, calls selfies a “really interesting psychological shift” in self-portraiture and in our relationships with ourselves. “Selfies allow you to be the producer, director, curator and actor in your own story,” says Rutledge.

But selfies can affect mood and damage self-esteem. Hemmen added, “Therein lies the challenge: practicing selfie control. Because teenagers are often driven by insecurity to construct a desirable persona, they are particularly vulnerable to the negative side of self-portraiture.”

“If a young girl poses provocatively and gets 300 likes for that photo, that’s false self-esteem for that kid,” said Hemmen. “Selfies can be fun and give people a burst of satisfaction in the moment, but we still want to encourage people to have authentic identities in real time and with real people.”

In Psychology Today, Rutledge said, “Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectre of either narcissism or very low self-esteem.”

A team of U.K. researchers found that people who post a lot of photos on Facebook and other social networks run the risk of alienating friends, family members and colleagues, leading to less supportive bonds.

A Birmingham Business School study of disclosure and liking behavior on Facebook found that people who post a lot of selfies have more shallow relationships with people. “People, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves,” said the study’s lead author Dr. David Houghton in a statement.

Yet there are no signs of decreased selfie sharing.

Cyber etiquette expert Julie Spira told the New York Daily News that while the narcissistic selfie is becoming more acceptable, posting more than three times a day on Facebook is going to irritate people. That rule can be stretched a bit on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, but “if one friend is hogging your entire feed, you might unfriend that person because that’s not why you joined.”

Posted from http://socialtimes.com/