Groping in the Dark

Ruthie Patriquin
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Helping girls boost self-esteem, confidence

Q: How can I help my daughter improve her self esteem? I keep telling her how pretty she is, but that doesn’t seem to help.

A. Self-esteem and self-confidence are issues for many girls.


If you have a healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself as a person and are proud of what you can do.

Self-confidenceis a little different from self-esteem. Self-confidence is having a positive and realistic opinion of yourself and being able to accurately measure your abilities.

Self-confidence is also an important part of feeling good about yourself. Self-confidence is that little voice inside of you that tells you that you are OK, that you are a good person, and that you know how to deal with things in good times and in bad.

Help your daughter by trying to take the focus off of looks.  Below are some tips to share with your daughter:

Boost your self-esteem:


Tell yourself that it is OK not to be the best at everything.Help out by doing chores around the house and volunteering in your community.Do things that you enjoy, or learn about new things you would like to try.Understand that there will be times when you will feel disappointed in yourself and other people. No one is perfect!If you are angry, try talking it over with an adult you trust (parents/guardians, relatives or a school counselor). Think positively about yourself and the things you can do. Think: "I will try!"Boost your self-confidence




Think positive thoughts about yourself! Focus on your strengths — not your weaknesses. Realize that you are better at some things than others.



Set realistic goals. This means not setting goals too high or too low, but at a level you know you can reach. Then, you can always strive to do better than your goal.



Give yourself credit when you reach a goal and praise yourself when you have done well.



Learn to be assertive — express your thoughts, opinions, needs, and feelings openly — but without abusing others’ rights.



Don’t compare yourself to others. Remember: you’re just fine the way you are!



Practice positive body language. Walk tall, don’t slump. When your body says “I can,” everyone will believe you can.


The above information was adapted from, which has great information for parents and youth on many health issues. There are also links to help parents of boys.

Locally, the Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County offers programs each summer for girls ages nine to 13 to boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Programs are held in Amherst, Oxford, Springhill, Parrsboro, Pugwash, and River Hebert.  Deadline to register is June 21. For more information, check out or call 667-7500.

Parents and care-givers may email questions to this column:

Organizations: Sexual Health Centre

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Amherst, Oxford Pugwash River Hebert

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