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How can I make my son realise that he is not a failure?

Q: My 10-year-old son believes that everyone is better than him in everything. He chooses friends that are dominating and aggressive. Though he is very active, yet he allows his friends to run over him so to speak. For example, he allows them to win races or video games. He then believes that he is not good at these events. He enjoys playing various sports and has unlimited potential but, he holds himself back and beats himself up when he fails at the task. I took my son to a professional batting coach; in the first few weeks, I saw major improvement until he struck out a couple of times. I encouraged him by saying that it is ok not to hit the ball every time or you'll get it next time. But now he is back to the old mind frame and even the batting coach says its all in his head. After he strikes out, he holds his head down and cries behind his helmet. I believe I praise and encourage him in everything he does. But I don't push him to do things he doesn't want to do, unless it is his homework. I want to help but I don't know how. Any advice will be appreciated.

A:Too few facts have been presented for me to have a clear view. Apart from the mother, is there anyone else in the picture? Where is the father? Are there siblings? It is clear that the boy wishes to punish himself for something he may have done or imagine to have done. One would need professional advice to get to the bottom of the masochistic tendency of the child. Praise and encouragement are necessary and have a positive effect, but unqualified affection is also an essential part of the parenting dynamics. Maybe he could be allowed to have a pup as a pet and in bringing it up, learn something about growing up. That is only one suggestion. Maybe his class teacher could also be roped in as an ally in tackling this problem.

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