Is your child ‘self-bullying’? What parents should know about the harmful practice

Building your child’s self-esteem from an early age is important for preventing “self-bullying.” 

Miriam Laundry, a St. Catharines-based author, says she first noticed her own daughter criticizing herself when she was in the fifth or sixth grade.

“She was standing in front of a full-length mirror saying things like, ‘Why am I so short? Why do I have so many pimples?’” Laundry told hosts on Global News’ The Morning Show. “And nothing that I was saying was making her stop… She hadn’t thought of it as if she was bullying herself.”

The negative thoughts that we have about ourselves can truly impact how we feel about ourselves, said Laundry, a mom of four. She co-authored the book The Big, Bad Bully to illustrate the consequences of children treating themselves badly. 

By the age of five, children have already developed a sense of self-esteem, according to 2016 research from the University of Washington. The report found that how children view themselves plays a critical role in how they form their own identities and will impact how well they do in school and life later on. 

How to build your child’s self-esteem

There are ways to help your child engage with healthier self-talk to help them focus on their achievements and worth instead of reverting to a negative understanding of who they are, explained Laundry.

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