What is self-esteem? It is who children think they are. You can see it in how they treat themselves. It is there when they feel valued and important. It is missing when they feel unworthy or put themselves down.
Self-esteem can be high or low. When children think they are important and valued, their self-esteem is high. When they feel good about themselves, are comfortable with who they are, and like themselves, their self-esteem is high. When they treat themselves with respect and avoid doing things that are not good for them, their self-esteem is high.
What is low self-esteem? Children have bad thoughts about themselves. They do not think they are worthwhile people who will be successful. They do not feel good about who they are. This makes them sad and angry. They do not take care of themselves and they do things that are not good for them.
Here is the important part. Children have good days and bad days. Sometimes their self-esteem is higher and sometimes lower. It depends on how things are going for them at the time. Low self-esteem is only a serious problem if your foster child gets extremely down on himself. More so if he is down on himself most of the time.
Here is the main problem. Abuse and neglect are killers when it comes to self-esteem. Foster children have low self-esteem. It is as simple and as tragic as that. It may be harder to see in younger children but is hard to miss in older foster children. Keep this in mind as you think about these signs of low self-esteem.