Do You Have High Self-Esteem Or Low Self-Esteem?

Over the course of the last week or so I came across this list that actually describes behaviour that indicates high and low self-esteem. Take a look and see where you might fall.

People with High Self-Esteem

1. Take responsibility for their action own feelings and behaviour; avoid blaming and excuses.

2. Take compliments graciously.

3. Listen to criticisms without anger or defensiveness.

4. Give praise and compliments frequently.

5. Take good care of selves physically; avoid self destructive behaviour.

6. Accept those things that can’t be changed; age, body type, height, etc.

7. Make decisions internally from own set of values.

8. Take emotional risks; are willing to fail or look foolish.

9. Assume they are likable and pleasant to be around.

10. Have a good sense of humor; delight in irony and humor that doesn’t make fun of people or their pain.

11. Are happy about the accomplishments of others; give encouragement and confidence to others.

12. Reach out to others and make contacts.

13. Accept mistakes as part of living; try again or try something new.

14. Listen openly to the feelings, thoughts and ideas of others.

15. Accept and give sexual and sexual pleasure.

16. Are attractive to and nourished by cooperative positive people.

17. Focus on the here and now and concentrate on those things that can be controlled

People with Low Self-Esteem

1. Blame others; attribute their emotions to others.

2. Deny compliments, act suspicious of them, feel manipulated by them.

3. Criticize and pass judgment.

4. Withhold appreciation and compliments.

5. Allow self-destructive behaviour to continue.

6. Complain and apologize about things that can’t be changed.

7. Mold to external pressures; needs constant assurance.

8. Needs situations to be safe and predictable; want to always look good and be right.

9. Assume they are liked and imagine that others secretly criticize them.

10. Are amused by humor that makes others look ridiculous.

11. Look for failure in others; call attention to others failures; predict gloom.

12. Wait for others to approach; blame others for being unfriendly.

13. Expect or demand perfection in self and others.

14. Argue. Preach, nag, and criticize.

15. Without pleasure from self and others.

16. Chose toxic, hurtful relationships.

17. Are disabled by guilt, remorse regret and worry.

Book Review – Common Sense Parenting

I have been reading a book called Common Sense Parenting by Ray Burk, Ron Herron and Bridget A. Barnes.

This book was brought to my attention because it was written by authors affiliated with The Boys Town. The Boys Town is an organization dedicated to assist “at-risk” youths. They had a workshop in Trinidad and Tobago recently and even though I was not able to attend, the information was passed on by wonderful colleagues.

Common Sense Parenting is a fabulous book. It has many very important pointers for parents, especially in these times where parenting has taken on a whole different dimension. I am amazed because exactly what I suggest to parents about managing their children is exactly what is written in this book. There are step by step instructions on how to parent. I feel maybe I could have written this book!

I would like to share some pointers from the book in my blog. I am also still in the process of reading the book therefore as I read I will post pointers that I feel are important to share. Previously, I have written about the importance of parenting, understanding our young people, supporting them and so on. I am also making notes and blogs in small doses since the information is much to digest all at one time. I have been taking my time to read this book.

These first set of notes are about the appropriate teaching methods to teach children. The steps we should take to help them and teach them the valuable lessons they need to learn about themselves, expectations we have of them and generally life.

Appropriate Teaching


You let your children know exactly what they do right or wrong.


You help your children understand the relationship between what they do and what happens as a result of their actions. So there is a reaction for ever action.


You give your children clear examples of how to improve in the future. Clear examples helps them because as parents we sometimes take it for granted our children “know” what we expect of them.


You help you children learn self-discipline (to be in control of their actions and expressions of emotion). In order to do this we ourselves must be self disciplined. Children learn best by example. Therefore if you are positive and self disciplined we can teach by example.


You give your children a chance to show what they have learned. You are an active part of the learning process. You and your children work together toward a common goal.


You become the teacher, the coach. As you give information that helps your children learn to solve problems.

The next blog will focus on positive and negative consequences. Common Sense Parenting gives very specific positive and negative consequences that parents can use with their children. So I will highlight some of these consequences and give examples of some the ways positive and negative consequences can work with parenting your children.

Trauma Workshop

Over the course of the last few days I have the great pleasure of attending a Trauma workshop done by Dr. Palmer. First of all Dr. Palmer has a very impressive resume in which she has experience and research extensively in the field of psychology and trauma. She is the chair and Director of training of professional psychology and family therapy, counselling psychology programme at the department of professional psychology and family therapy at Seton Hall University.

The first day of the workshop was filled with a great deal of theory. Information was abundant and by the end of the day I felt saturated, but not in a bad way. I felt empowered and motivated like a child again, to read and explore an area that is popping up more and more in my work setting.
Children are being traumatized on a daily basis and we need to look at this more closely in order to help them. Working at a residential children’s home is a place ripe with traumatized children and equally ripe with triggers that often sets the children’s behaviour spiraling out of control. The stories children hear at school, in the media and in our lives are causing them to be traumatized more and more everyday.
Palmer’s Wisdom

One of the things that I did not realise before this workshop is that trauma can start as early as the prenatal stage. When the child is born it is very important for the child to get that care and nurturing needed. Otherwise these apparent little things have a serious effect on the child’s development and this contributes to trauma.

Other aspects that were quite informative and interesting is the play therapy techniques taught on the second day. The first exercise was to draw a picture without talking. We were put into groups and numbered off so that persons who most likely knew and were sitting next to each other were placed in a different group. Then each person in the group had to choose a color and draw a picture. No further instruction was given. It was very interesting to see how the different groups approached this exercise differently. Some groups were drawing their own pictures on different parts of the page so the picture was a bit disjointed as a whole but represented each of them. Some groups communicated through sign language and made a picture looking like if they planned it. Other groups looks at each others drawings and tried to add on. All in all it was a wonderful exercise. At the end of it we had to give the picture a title and explain what was done and what group dynamics took place during the exercise.
The second technique that we usually do not use in Trinidad is sandtray therapy. Basically you get a tray and fill it with sand. You can have wet sand or dry sand and provide all different figurines and items for kids to make their own picture. This can be used for children and adults in therapy. The picture to the right is a representation of what our group did with sandtray therapy using rice instead of sand.
The video below gives more information on sandtray therapy.

A Crazy Day in the Life of a Psychologist….

Disclaimer: These little excerpts are from many different sources. They were written for informational purposes.

Story One

Psychologist: so draw a picture of your family for me.
Little child: can i draw a picture of when mommy and daddy used to be together.
Psychologist: Sure no problem, its your family picture so draw whoever you want.
After drawing the picture.
Psychologist: what is that daddy has in his hand.
Little child: A gun.
Psychologist: why does daddy have a gun in his hand.
Little child: to kill mommy.

What would you do in a situation like this?
Story Two
Psychologist: Tell me…what do you do in your spare time.
Child: Watch TV
Psychologist: What else to you do besides watching TV?
Child: Play games on the computer or the DS.
Psychologist: Anything else?
Child: No that’s it.
And we wonder why our children are not creative.
Story Three
Child: Miss I know sometimes that teachers come in and you know they in a bad mood or they had a bad day they might have problems at home that day, but Ms. X just has problems because like her day always bad!!!!
We must not our children think this of us.
Story Four
Mother: I don’t know what to do my 6 year old is throwing temper tantrums.
Psychologist: What do you do to discipline him.
Mother: Discipline him, well I do not beat him.
Psychologist: Ok but what consequences are in place for when he throws tantrums or does something wrong.
Mother: I am supposed to have a consequence for tantrums.
There must be consequences for actions. Good consequences for good behaviour and negative consequences for negative behaviour. Parents must be consistent in their discipline.
Jenna Samaroo

Parental Control on the Internet

I had the opportunity over the course of the last few weeks to set up Internet parental controls. This was a very interesting experience for me. I had to set up the controls because I have 8 to 12 teenage boys using the internet. I marvelled at how parenting has changed over the years.

Children these days are growing up with more exposure to everything at a younger and younger age. These days 3 and 4 year olds know how to navigate the pc and internet. When I was 3 or 4 years I was now learning to play with my dolls or build blocks.

This exposure comes because over the years access to information good and bad is generally more available. There is the internet, music, tv, cell phones, peers and so much more that influences our youths. And everything is so accessible because the advancement in technology is making to world smaller and smaller everyday.

Now the whole guarding the internet thing became more apparent to me after I installed the parental controls. I used a free service on xp called k9 from Blue Coat. This service has been working really well. I was also quite impressed with windows Vista parental controls. There two sets of controls help to limit certain sites the boys go on like porn sites, gambling, violence, gaming sites and more. You can also block certain sites you do not want them to go on like Facebook, Youtube etc. I have not placed very strict rules on these sites because I think its good for the boys to have exposure to social networking.

These two sets of parental controls offer an activity report, so I was able to find out on Vista that the boys were trying to look at porn, break my password, programmes opened and more. K9 just gives an activity report for the internet. Xp does not have parental controls built in.

There is one other cool feature that allows me to have remote access to the computers the boys are on from home, so I can see what is going on at any point. The programme I used is Log Me In.

Now all this appears to be like a great deal of controlling or trying to control, but as parents or guardians we have to be aware and move with the times.Teenager will find opportunities to sneak to do things parents disapprove of, but as parents we must not encourage these things to be too easily accessible. So I know the boys will try to look at porn they may get videos and dvd’s from their friends but it cannot be said that I know it is easily accessible online and i did nothing to prevent this easy access. I am trying to be a responsible parent/guardian to the young budding men in my care, so I am taking precautions not to encourage certain types of behaviours to be normalised at home. I am not naive they will find means and ways of getting around accessing whatever illicit material they desire.

This whole parental control on the internet has been an eye opening experience for me. A great deal of the morals and values of the institution I work for, as well as my own values came up again and again. I also did not realise the amount of risks and threats, are just as much as the well, good and wonderful areas of the internet. Our children will be exposed to lots of information we must talk to them, let them know right from wrong. We must be informed ourselves and move with the times. We must learn what things our children are being exposed to and not be naive into thinking the times have not changed from when we were growing up. It is only then we can be effective parents.

Jenna Samaroo

Anger Management for Everyone…

People just seem to be very angry all the time these days. Trinidad has become an angry and aggressive society. This anger and aggression, I have noticed stems from the busy lifestyles we are now living. There are demands all the time, the workplace, the family, the friends, school, and the list goes on.

Children in schools are no different. Sometimes, especially the teenagers, tend to be even more angry and aggressive towards their peers, their families, their teachers and those in authority. This anger and aggression from our youths, most times, come from what is going on in the home or their relationship with those in authority. This is just my experience I am sharing…
The other day I was asked to make a presentation on anger management because I cover this topic all the time with mostly youths.
One of the first things I ask young people is when you angry what is body response to anger. All of us need to know the signs that indicate when we are getting angry. These signs come firstly from our bodies. I have found that many people do not know the first physical signs that they are getting angry. Signs vary from person to person and its important for each one of us to be aware of this. There is a list of things that can happen and you need to pay attention.
You can;
start sweating,
get red or go pale,
get a headache,
eyes hurt,
eyes get larger,
breath faster,
muscles tighten in body, face arms,
veins pop out,
grind your teeth,
fist your hands,
creased forehead,
and the list goes on and varies from person to person. Understanding the physical signs that you are getting angry is the first step in anger management and effective control.

The second step to anger management is identifying the triggers. Triggers are the events, persons, situation, memories etc. that makes us angry. Usually it is the same exact things that make us angry over and over again. Sometimes we really have to choose and ask ourselves important questions like do I really need to be angry at this today. Knowing what triggers our anger and maybe choosing a different strategy beside getting angry, can be helpful in problem solving and curbing anger.

The third vital step is to know what works at calming yourself down. There are various ways each person calm themselves down. The calming down process can only take place when we are now becoming aware that we are angry. Therefore the indicator to calm down will come from the initial body responses that says to us “hey I am getting angry”. All of us have varying degrees of anger. So our anger can range from irritated, to annoyed, to vexed, to angry, to ranging angry and out of control. The calming down process has to start at the first signs of anger, so that will be the annoyed and vexed period. Here is where we want to at this stage;
take 3 or 4 deep breaths and let them out slowly,
we can count from 1-20 slowly in our minds,
we can walk away,
take a walk,
take a cold drink,
listen to music,
do an physical activity like exercising,
take a cold shower
and the list goes on.

When we feel angry going into raging angry some of the things we can do is;
beat up on a pillow or cushion,
tear paper like newspapers,
jump up and down,
go outside and scream,
scream into a pillow,

These are the vital steps to anger management. This process obviously has to be altered from person to person. Some triggers are harder to control than others, because the roots go deeper and usually require therapy to overcome this deep rooted source of anger. But in a nutshell this is the skeleton of the process to anger management.

So the next time you get angry take a deep breath and decide if this situation is really worth you getting angry today…..

Jenna Samaroo

Bullying an ever increasing problem…

In recent times I have realised that bullying is an ever increasing problems in our nation’s schools and homes. The problem of bullying stems from many deep rooted issues.

Bullying is different from aggression. An aggressive child will be aggressive anywhere, with anyone and this behaviour is usual equal. Bullying on the other hand is an abuse of power, where one child overpowers another and deliberately hurts them (verbally, emotionally or physically). Usually the child being bullied has not done anything to deserve such treatment but has been targeted by the bully to show off his/her power on a continuous basis.
Generally, boys are more outright with bullying behaviour, therefore it appears more common amongst them. Girls on the other hand bully in less direct ways, for example they might deliberately leave out another girl from play, or activities. Bullying can be more effectively prevented and managed when work is started with younger children, rather than teenagers. The work that is usually done is through education, positive talk sessions, and strong policies in schools against bullying.
Teachers play a vital role in the prevention and management of bullying, since this behaviour occurs mostly in the school setting. Adults need to help the children become assertive, avoid certain situations, and actively help children who are being bullied. This can also be done through education.
Children who are bullied suffer from many different psychological issues. Bullying can cause loss of self esteem, depression, increased isolation, family problems, poor school performance and some children might even start thinking about suicide or revenge.
Children who bully are often unhappy and dissatisfied with aspect of their lives. More times that not bullies have been bullied themselves at one point. They have felt deprived and may have suffered the same imbalance of power, usually from a loved one. Therefore bullies themselves often have low self esteem. In order to feel good about themselves they bring others down. If this behaviour is not checked, the child can go on to delinquent behaviour in adulthood because they would not have learnt how to be responsible and work well with others.
As parents, teachers and adults one of the main ways we can help with the bullying behaviour is by modelling the correct behaviour for our young people. We also need to treat then with respect and love, giving them autonomy. We should not dominate them, demand and tell them what to do at all times, but to talk to our children and treat them with respect and love. We have to do more, educate more, role model more, be more vigilant to prevent the rising incidences of bullying…
Jenna Samaroo

Children’s Questions About Sex…..

If your 8 year old ask you what is a condom? what will be your answer?

I had a parent who asked me this question sometime ago and I thought this was very interesting because many parents do not know where to begin when their children start asking questions pertaining to sex.
First of all I tell parents do not lie. Long gone are the days that parents are able to lie to their kids about sex. Our children have access to so much more information than we had when we were their age. In my time there was no cell phone, and the Internet was now becoming accessible. The televisions shows and advertisements were still a great deal more G rated than they are now. Things are very different now, because our kids have access to much more information, therefore if parents do not answer their questions then who will?
The answer of who will is the scary part. Many time when parents do not answer their children’s questions they go to their peers for these answers. Their peers may be misinformed and give wrong information. Peers may give too much information to the child causing confusion, more curiosity and sometimes experimentation.
We have to realise that the times have drastically changed from when we were children or teenagers therefore our parenting styles need to change to suit the times. Our children are being exposed to information, especially about sex, at younger and younger ages. Therefore as parents we MUST be the one give the information when they ask. Giving the information means that we ourselves must have the information. As parents we need to do the research in order to answer our children’s questions. There are many books in the library or information from the internet that can be used to give pointers and help parents talk to their children about questions pertaining to sex.
So when an 8 year old asks what is a condom we must have an age appropriate answer. Our child is not a teenager and at 8 years old sometimes there is only so much understanding that takes place. Therefore we do not want to lie but at the same time we must not go too in depth to cause confusion. We must also know our children, because if we know them and we are aware of their thought process we will be able to know what will confuse them, what will make sense to them and how in depth we can take our discussion.
So an ideal answer might be something a man uses to prevent a woman and himself from getting HIV/Sexually transmitted diseases/ and pregnancy. Some children may ask more questions accordingly and we continue to keep the answers age appropriate. At 8 years old we should use the correct biological names when having discussions and keep checking to see if they understand what we are talking about, because sometimes we may be making them more confused.
Let us not get scared when our children start asking questions about sex at a young age. As parents we should get out there and make sure we are informed and answer the questions. Make sure our kids get the information they seek from us first. Keep the communication channel open, we must never tell our children questions pertaining to sex is inappropriate. Let them come and talk to us about it rather than talk to their peers and others who will give them wrong information and misguide our children.
Jenna Samaroo

Save a Life!

This video touched my heart.

 It was brought to the attention of my good friend CG 2.0 who is big in entertainment in Barbados. He made me aware of how Shaggy is doing a lot of work for the children, producing video and doing concerts to help raise money for sick children to get care. There is a Shaggy make a difference Foundation where all proceed go towards a hospital for children.
It is so fabulous to see our entertainers and super personalities putting their talents to causes such as this because as the song going “the children are our future” and it is up to all of us to invest in whatever way possible to save them. That is something I feel very passionate about and I try every day to make my contribution no matter how small!!!
I feel a great sense of pride to see not only Shaggy but the rallying together our Caribbean musicians to help in his quest and make this beautiful video!!! I will contribute as best as I can for the cause, because its a cause I personally and passionately believe in…..
You to can make a difference by going on the website above!
Jenna Samaroo

The New Planet!

Due to air pollution the earth ozone layer is way too thin. Days are getting hotter and hotter. In a couple of days the earth is going to be too hot for humans to survive. N.A.S.A. has a rocker that with send people to a new planet so that they can repopulate and the human species with not become extinct. They only problem is that the rocket can only take 10 people. You decide which 10 people should go to the new planet and tell me the reason why they should go…..

1.       A 15 year old female with 3 children.

2.       A 12 year old male bright student who wants to be a police officer.

3.       A 19 year old male computer technician.

4.       An 18 year old male high school dropout (unemployed).

5.       A 14 year old female pregnant with twins.

6.       A 15 year old female fashion model.

7.       A 15 year old female pregnant in high school.

8.       A 16 year old male boyfriend of # 7 baby’s father.

9.       10 year old male street child.

10.   A 19 year old male prostitute.

11.    A 20 year old male law student.

12.   A 10 year old female who was sexually abused by their stepfather.

13.   A 15 year old male who is very wealthy (rich).

14.   A 20 year old male footballer.

15.   A 22 year old female college student, studying the environment.

16.   A 20 year old male known for drug abuse.

17.   A 14 year old female boxer, she also has a part time job as a cashier.

18.   An 18 year old male who has the flu.

19.   A 19 year old female who is studying plants and trees.

20.   A 19 year old male gang member.

21.   A 17 year old male who collects garbage.

22.   A 20 year old female who owns her own food stand.

23.   A 10 year old male farmer.

24.   A 19 year old female who was raped by her boyfriend.

25.   A 12 year old male fisherman.

26.   A 17 year old male baker.

27.   A 22 year old actress and dancer who smokes.

28.   An 18 year old male professional basketball player.

29.   A 13 year old male who has chicken pox.

30 An 18 year old female who is studying psychology and has a fear of flying.

Jenna Samaroo