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Fostering Self-Esteem

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My son is ten years old and has some sort of learning disability. I have noticed that he is so slow at some things and not as noticeably slow at other things. He is home-schooled now and I find he is learning more math than he did at school. He often has a problem with nightmares and he is very ,very shy all the time even with people he knows very well. He will not stand up for himself against even the youngest of children. He is a compliant child easy to be with and easy to love. I want Adam to stand up for himself more and learn to value himself. Any suggestions?

A: First, I would not assume that your son has a "clinically diagnosable" learning disability. Indeed if he is talked about in this manner, i.e. that something is "wrong" with him, this certainly could contribute significantly to him having little confidence in himself. Many home-schooled kids are also afraid to tell their parents they would rather go to a school where they could be around other kids; they're afraid to hurt their parent's feelings, parents who are giving them so much extra time.

If you are really concerned about difficulties your son may have in learning you owe it to him and yourself to have him evaluated by sensitive, talented professionals. You obviously value education greatly; some collaborating with these professional specialists could surely help you adapt your teaching to his learning styles.

Get Adam involved with social activities outside the home, ones that he expresses an interest in. Look to the things Adam does well(not just in academics) and find ways for him to feel even better about these skills, talents and interests. The better he feels about himself and what he has to offer the more confident he will be presenting himself in life. Good luck. Enjoy your son.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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