How to Improve the Self Esteem of Your Special Needs Child

It can be difficult raising a child with special needs. Kids with special needs often tend to feel different from other children. And although all kids experience bullying and teasing.

Kids with disabilities are often targeted, which makes them feel bad, out of place and they can develop feelings about themselves that are negative. It is our job as parents to help our children feel great both inside and out.

Kids with special needs are going to have questions. Many times negative elements are attached to the answers we give. How they feel about themselves afterward plays a big role. It depends on how much emphasis we as parent’s put on their disabilities.

There needs to be a balance on what is acceptable forms of behavior which at times can be hard when we don’t know what part of their behavior is caused by their disability and what part is normal child growth.


“They are not thriving, growing properly or might be behind in school. Their disability is getting in the way of their social development, and they don’t think or act as other children do

These types of messages are commonly heard amongst parents with children who have special needs. The message, however, can get lost on the child.

I have been guilty on more than one occasion for telling my son with mild cerebral palsy he can’t do something because I think his legs won’t let him.

This is like me saying he isn’t good enough to even try. So be careful how you choose your words when explaining limitation you feel your child needs to understand.

There is no shame in having a child with disabilities. Yet, many parents feel this way once a diagnosis is presented. They feel a sense of guilt and even worse inside, thinking there was something they could have done for their child to be normal. But what is normal?

I went through pounds and pounds of guilt until I made myself sick.

As a parent, I had to learn to get past this. All children including those with special needs will grow and thrive at their own pace, which also means they need to feel good about themselves both inwardly and outwardly.

I remember the moment my son’s diagnosis came in. The neurologist explained he was recovering from a brain injury from his birth. My immediate reaction was guilt. I felt as if somehow I was responsible. I could have prevented it. After all, it was me who had the job of protecting him while growing inside of me. Wasn’t it?

As a parent, you need to learn to let go of your own selfish feelings and focus on the way your child feels about themselves. I decided I wasn’t going to treat my son any different.

I knew he would have limitations but that wasn’t going to stop me from pushing or supporting him in all walks of manner with which the way he wanted to live his life.

We have a ‘no quit’ attitude in our home, and we embrace every milestone. Each journey is celebrated because his disabilities do not define him but are rather challenges he must face.

So how can parent’s help their child with special needs improve their self-esteem? Be supportive and caring and understanding.