How to Help Your Child Overcome an Inferiority Complex

When kids don’t feel confident about themselves or their abilities, it’s not unusual for them to face struggles with their peers, their teachers, and sometimes even their families.

But when those feelings of inadequacy are coupled with angry behavior, anxiety, blue moods, and avoiding playtime, parties, and other social situations, it may signal an inferiority complex, says Leigh Johnson-Migalski, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist in the Chicago area.

Although the term is not recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an inferiority complex can be thought of as a constellation of thoughts and behaviors that together impede a person’s ability to feel competent in almost all aspects of life. Many mental health experts use the term chronic low self-esteem, which can exist in both children and adults.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who struggle with low self-esteem may show the following signs:

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