Inferiority complex in kids

Recently, my cousin sister shared a peculiar parenting problem with me. She told me that her 9-year-old daughter had developed an inferiority complex. She had been scoring fewer marks than her classmates in her class and they often mocked her. She felt that she was not good enough for their friendship. She lost her confidence so much that she wouldn’t talk to anyone in the family or outside. The family then assured her they would help her study to get higher marks. They also told her that a friendship is not worth it if it makes her unhappy. Eventually, she was able to overcome her inferiority complex.

If you thought only adults experience inferiority complex, then this is a wake-up call. These days, it is a common occurrence in children. Here is all you need to know.

What is an Inferiority Complex?

Inferiority complex is a feeling of self-worth or inadequacy on an emotional, psychological, physical or intellectual level. The children could experience an inferiority complex due to personal experiences or observing adults around them.

Signs of Inferiority Complex

When children have an inferiority complex, you can notice the following signs:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Behavioural issues
  • Fear and insecurity
  • Lack of motivation
  • Attention-seeking
  • Submissive attitude

How Can Parents Help?

It is natural for you to worry about your child and wonder how to deal with the inferiority complex problem. First of all, keep yourselves calm – the first rule of parenting. If your kids see you distressed, they will withdraw further into their shell or shy away from sharing their troubles with you. Next, the following tips should help you further:

  • Show Compassion

Sit with your children and tell them that you understand what they are going through. Any kind of anger, frustration or loud voice wouldn’t work well with the children. Share your experiences, if any, and coax the problem out of your children. It may take a few attempts and talks but the children would eventually tell you what’s bothering them.

  • Avoid Peer Comparison

When you compare your children with someone else, you have a good intention at heart. You want your child to get motivation and do something better for their life. However, comparison often backfires. Children may think that you are finding faults in their personality or behaviour. They feel a lack of self-worth because they start believing that they are not able to meet your expectation. Hence, it is important to stop such comparisons, especially in front of others.

  • Help Them Believe in Their Strengths

Children can lose confidence when they feel inferior to others in some way. You must help your children identify their strengths and appreciate what they are capable of doing. This will shift their attention from bad to good. Whenever they achieve something, no matter how little, praise and encourage them. Once the children have regained confidence, you can slowly and subtly start working on their drawbacks which are hampering them to realize their full potential.

  • Plan Group Activities

If your children prefer isolation during the phase of inferiority complex, you can plan group activities for them. These can be indoor or outdoor activities. This will help them to open up and reconnect with their peers.

  • Practice Yoga and Meditation

You can enrol your child in yoga and meditation class, or look up some videos online. Yoga and meditation will help your child to feel grounded and accept themselves for what they are without any judgement.

Inferiority complex in children is an issue that you can easily help them overcome with conscious efforts. What’s more important is to build a loving and trustworthy relationship with your children, and give them some time to come out of it.

About Smita Omar

Smita is an ex banker who voluntary said adiós to a high flying career to explore the rocky yet beautiful terrain of motherhood. When she is not busy juggling between her naughty daughter and foodie husband, you can find her donning the hat of a freelance content developer-editor to keep her sanity intact. She has been a Work-From-Home-Mother for 8 years and turns to meditation when the going gets tough.


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