Parents worry about children’s low self-esteem and unhappiness

Children’s charity Spurgeons says we are living in a society where children are struggling and parents don’t know where to turn for help. Parents are most worried about low self-esteem and their children being unhappy, or being bullied, and young parents are particularly concerned about their children self-harming or committing suicide.

“But the sad thing is half of parents think there is little to no support available. Therefore Spurgeons is calling on government, charities, schools and GPs to do more so families do know where to turn for help,” said the charity as it marked its 150th anniversary with the launch of its Parent Report.

The report shows that, across the UK, 46% of parents are most worried about their children having low self-esteem or are that they are unhappy while 46% also worry about their children being bullied.

The research, among parents with children under the age of 18, also showed that 20% of young parents (aged 18-24) worry about the prospect of their child self-harming or feeling suicidal and 42% think there is little to no support available from statutory, community or voluntary services to help with family challenges like divorce and conflict.

Only 34% of parents have ever used a support group or social care service for their children and only 10% would turn to a children’s charity for support on any issues affecting their children.

Spurgeons Chief Executive Ross Hendry says: “This research shows that parents of all ages and backgrounds are concerned for their children. And many of the most vulnerable are struggling the most. This is true across society. But for youngsters facing challenges, who are caring for a relative or who have a parent in prison, it’s much worse.”

Another charity, ChildLine, says it has noticed an increase in counselling for children with low self-esteem and says children are ‘struggling to cope with the pressures of modern life, creating a generation of children plagued by loneliness and low self-esteem’.

And the mental health charity, Mind, says talking treatments can help with children suffering from low self-esteem, being bullied or other emotional issues affecting behaviour.

Among treatments which can help is clinical hypnotherapy and the National Council for Hypnotherapy has around 1,800 qualified therapists across the UK who can help and are experienced in dealing with such issues.

Says the NCH: “Hypnotherapy is a very effective treatment for children as it utilises their imagination in order to help them create positive ways of coping with the trials of growing up. The NCH has many members who specialise in working with children – there is help out there.”

“People can suffer from thoughts of low self-esteem, or obsessive thoughts about someone or something,” says the NCH, adding: “Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes. An external influence, the therapist, assists in activating the inner resources of their client in order to achieve realistic goals.”

Adds Hendry: “What’s important is that families get the support they need when they need it. The good news is that there is support out there, through a range of different organisations and services. But it is clear that we must all – government, charities, schools and GPs included – do more to let people know where they can turn, and for what support, so every child can look to the future with a sense of hope.”