After surgery, teen lacks self-confidence

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  May 20, 2010 06:00 AM

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Hi Barbara,

My 14-year-old daughter has a lack of confidence. Every time she needs encouragement; she is not cooperative with her sister and brother. She had cleft palate when she born, then she was operated on twice, but the speech is not clear. This makes her very quiet. She said in her class teachers and classmates can't understand her. Most of the time she sits alone and quiet and does not take care of herself. Her personality is not developing. I spend lots of time with her I am not satisfied with her behaviour. I am afraid in later life she will have problems. What you suggest?


From: Sabeen, Dubai

Dear Sabeen,

After cleft palate surgery, children often need speech and language therapy.

So you might want a consultation with a speech and language therapist as well as with a mental health professional.

Meanwhile, is there any extra curricular activity in which your daughter has shown an interest or a talent? Music lessons? Some kind of craft or art? Chess? Something athletic? If there is something about which she feels passionate, and in which she can develop a talent or skill, she will feel better about herself. In addition, she might meet some new people and make new friends. The combination could help her develop self-confidence as well as competency.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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2 comments so far...
  1. There are some web-based message boards and groups online for kids and adults with cleft lip/palate. She might benefit from talking and socializing with some kids who are going through what she is. I am an adult with a cleft lip and palate. If I had those resources when I was a teen it would have been life changing for me. I knew no-one who was going through similar issues. It is extremely, extremely difficult to go through your teen years with a facial deformity. Please get her any help she needs to feel better about her self. Even if counseling is needed. I do agree that any hobbies/sports etc would be good but I have to say, I loved theatre/drama/singing and did nothing in those groups in HS because I was so shy and insecure. Good luck, she is not alone and in a few years, things will get easier!

    Posted by Trish Kane May 20, 10 11:50 AM
  1. Thanks Trisha it seems too difficult for me to let her participate in actvities becuase she does not take interest in any thing i observe her to see whats her hobbies but mostly she says nothing i insist her for ice scating but there she was scared and looking to everybody who are looking to her be a mother i dont want my child suffer in later life.Me also getting too much deppression here.Helpless.How i can go for councelling here in Dubai its very costly.Do i talk with u in this matter if yes so how?

    Posted by SABEEN May 26, 10 10:20 AM
 
2 comments so far...
  1. There are some web-based message boards and groups online for kids and adults with cleft lip/palate. She might benefit from talking and socializing with some kids who are going through what she is. I am an adult with a cleft lip and palate. If I had those resources when I was a teen it would have been life changing for me. I knew no-one who was going through similar issues. It is extremely, extremely difficult to go through your teen years with a facial deformity. Please get her any help she needs to feel better about her self. Even if counseling is needed. I do agree that any hobbies/sports etc would be good but I have to say, I loved theatre/drama/singing and did nothing in those groups in HS because I was so shy and insecure. Good luck, she is not alone and in a few years, things will get easier!

    Posted by Trish Kane May 20, 10 11:50 AM
  1. Thanks Trisha it seems too difficult for me to let her participate in actvities becuase she does not take interest in any thing i observe her to see whats her hobbies but mostly she says nothing i insist her for ice scating but there she was scared and looking to everybody who are looking to her be a mother i dont want my child suffer in later life.Me also getting too much deppression here.Helpless.How i can go for councelling here in Dubai its very costly.Do i talk with u in this matter if yes so how?

    Posted by SABEEN May 26, 10 10:20 AM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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