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Developing positive self-esteem

Photo: Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves and our role in the world.

"My son is full of potential and as long as we support him or find the right support, he will be able to achieve his goals and reach his full potential."

Monica attended our Happy Futures training for parents

As your deaf child grows up, they may encounter negative attitudes or obstacles which can affect their self-esteem. To help build their confidence and resilience in these situations, there are some activities you can do together at home.

Listing the good things

"It's important for him to have something special about him that isn't related to his deafness."

Amy is mum to Magnus (3)

Sit with your child and ask them to write, say or sign their answers to the following questions:

  • What is unique about me?
  • What are my special gifts and talents?
  • What are the things I like about myself?
  • What am I happy about at home or school?

As they write down, sign or speak their thoughts, pause occasionally and reflect on how you both feel when you think about life in this way.

Finding a hobby

“When she’s on the football pitch she feels she’s on a very level playing field; she knows she’s as good as the others."

Tracey-Anne is mum to Daisy (10)

For deaf children, learning to excel in an activity which doesn’t rely too heavily on oral communication, such as swimming, cycling, dancing, gardening or art, can help to boost their confidence. Encourage your child to join extra-curricular clubs, and try to be supportive of their interests outside of school. Consider sharing our tips on making activities deaf-friendly with your child’s coaches or teachers to help make sure your child feels included.

Developing independence

“Natalie’s older brother is hearing and ultimately I treat her the same as him.”

Suzanne is mum to Natalie (11)

We all like to feel like we have some control over the world around us. Giving children responsibility for certain things, like helping in the kitchen, walking to school alone or looking after their own hearing equipment, can help to boost their sense of independence. Show your child that you know they are capable of keeping themselves safe, and trust them to complete the task they’ve been given. Try to give clear boundaries by setting specific targets – for example, getting yourself dressed by 7.45am. Depending on the age of your child, reward success with praise, stars and stickers and eventually a treat!

Daily gratitude

Every day, encourage your child to think about three things they are grateful for. They could be big things, like ‘my mum’ or ‘going on holiday’, or little things, like ‘sunshine’ or ‘cosy socks’. You can go first to give them an example. Get into the habit of sharing your three things at the same time each day, perhaps over breakfast or on the way to school. For older children, you could encourage them to write or draw their three things in a journal. The journal could even sit beside their bed. This is a great little practice to do because it reminds your child (and even yourself) that, even when life seems complicated, there are plenty of things to be grateful for.