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How can I help build my daughter's self esteem?

Q: My daughter is 14 years old. I am a single parent, her father died when she was a month old. She is a brilliant and beautiful girl. She is very good in studies, awesome in singing and graceful in dancing. Offlate she is losing confidence in herself. She often says that she is a boring communicator, she cannot make friends, which is true because some girls in her class avoid her. Talking about this to the school counsellor is useless because they don't keep the matters within themselves and make the issue bigger by spreading it. As a parent, I am letting her grow as she is. I give her the independence to take her own decisions. It hurts, when I come to know that she is being avoided. I tell her to be good no matter what, but this doesn't really help. I often arrange get together for her classmates. I am a working parent and have my own ups and downs sometimes. But I feel that she is in a tender age. She needs to build confidence in herself. Her weaknesses are that she can't accept failure and likes to be a winner all the time. She likes to be appreciated and can't accept criticism. She doesn't have a best friend. I guess she is longing for a reliable best friend.

A:Your daughter is going through typical adolescent problems in peer interaction, and this is causing her to lose self-esteem. It is clear that she is superior in looks, studies and extra-curricular activities. This can lead to feelings of jealousy in peers, and it could be one of the reasons for their reactions. Your daughter should try to ensure that she communicates with them without any airs, does not show off, and accepts any drawbacks or criticisms gracefully. She should try to talk to some of them openly in an objective manner, expressing a desire to be part of the group, asking for reasons for their reluctance in accepting her, and then try to work upon those areas. At this age, kids may move in a group and not have one best friend. They often have to change sections due to selection of subjects and she may soon be able to be part of a group. It is possible that you may be over-concerned as a single parent. It is also possible that she may be over-sensitive being an only child of a single parent. Try to be relaxed yourself and encourage her to be more accepting of herself and others.

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