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When a pupil’s anger issues may be linked to low self-esteem

There are many reasons why a pupil might act out at school or show anger. Not understanding the feelings that they are experiencing can be frustrating and they may channel this frustration into angry outbursts.

Sometimes having low self-esteem can make it difficult for a pupil to deal with anger. Here are some instances when angry outbursts may be linked to low self-esteem.

When a pupil is being bullied

Anger is often used to disguise other feelings, such as embarrassment and sadness. Pupils who are being bullied, either verbally or physically, may try to suppress these feelings by putting on an angry front.

When a pupil is struggling with low self-esteem, they are likely to be more vulnerable to verbal abuse and take whatever is said much more personally. They might be bullied for the way they look or their inability to live up to the pressure of appearance ideals which can make them feel self-conscious.

When a pupil feels that they don’t fit in socially

When a pupil is lacking in body confidence and struggles with low self-esteem, they probably won’t feel attractive or ‘cool’ enough to be worthy of fitting in with their peers or able to build healthy friendships. They may be experiencing lots of feelings including isolation, discontent with the way they look, jealousy when it comes to other pupils’ appearances or feeling inadequate when comparing themselves to the images that they come across on social media or in magazines. These feelings might seem overwhelming and for some pupils it may seem easier to channel them as anger.

When a pupil feels that they are not being heard in class

A pupil with low self-esteem may not have the confidence to speak up in class or feel as though their opinions are not worthy. If a pupil thinks that they are not able to achieve certain things, or that their opinions do not matter, this can build up as frustration which may eventually trigger outbursts. Children with low self-esteem will need to feel reassured that they have someone they trust that they can talk to who can help them figure out why they may be feeling this way.

Download your free teaching resources here. 

The Dove Self-Esteem Project offers free PSHE Association-accredited resources to enable you to deliver a series of self-esteem workshops in your school. The resources are designed to boost pupils’ self-esteem and build their body confidence. There are five sessions covering a range of issues from exploring how appearance ideals have changed over time to learning the critical skills required when it comes to unrealistic images in the media.

Session three: Confront comparisons can help pupils see how focusing on appearance often leads to unhelpful comparisons. Instead of judging other people's physical features to be 'better' than their own, the session looks at positive ways of making comparisons. Session four: Banish Body Talk can help encourage pupils to avoid talking about appearances and take the focus away from other pupils’ physical appearances. There is also a single session workshop available, covering the topics from the five sessions in less depth.

Read, download or print the free Uniquely Me parent guide

The free Uniquely Me parent guide is packed with much more advice and some practical activities to help support you with boosting children’s body confidence and self-esteem.

This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.