Dear American Girl,
My friend thinks that she isn't good at anything. She says negative things about herself a lot, but I think that she's an amazing girl! I want my friend to feel better about herself. Is there anything I can do to help her?
Here's your advice:
Be there for your friend when she needs a boost. Sit in the stands and cheer her on at her gymnastics meet. If she won a ribbon in a competition or did well on a test, tell her, "Great job!" With your positive words, she might start to look at herself in a positive way.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Wyoming
Have a talent swap. One girl can teach the other a new skill or something she wishes she could do. For example, you could teach your friend how to sing the alphabet backward, and she could teach you how to frost a cake.
-Olivia, age 11, New York
Give your pal a list of things you admire about her. It will mean a lot to her to know that her friend thinks she is an amazing person.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, North Carolina
Every time this girl criticizes herself, gently say, "Are you sure? I disagree," or, "I don't think so." You could also remind her of her accomplishments, such as making honor roll or helping her little brother read.
-Anna, age 10, Ohio
Encourage your friend to join a club or try an activity. One of my confidence boosters is being around people who share my interests. Your friend may discover a new talent and find a way to shine.
-Hannah, age 11, Pennsylvania
Make a poster to lift your friend's spirits. Include pictures or stickers that represent her hobbies, such as soccer balls or horses. Cut out positive words from old magazines or write them. Add glitter to remind her to "sparkle." When your friend looks at the poster, it could make her feel special.
-Isabella, age 12, California
When your friend puts herself down, look her straight in the eye and tell her that she's awesome. Keep telling her something positive every time she says something negative, and she might start to believe it.
-Mary, age 12, Tennessee
Negative thoughts and words can result from something difficult going on in someone's life. Ask your friend if anything is bothering her and also if there's anything you can do to help.
-Brinley, age 10, California
Every time your friend says something negative, spin it into something positive. If she says, "I'm terrible at swimming," say, "Well, you're really good at ballet!"
-An American Girl fan, age 13, England
Tell your friend to celebrate her imperfections because that's what makes her unique. Say, "I like you for you!"
-Nikki, age 11, California
At camp this summer, we did something called "secret angel notes." When a camper was having a hard day, a friend would secretly put a note in a place where she would find it. We signed the notes "Secret Angel." I got one and it brightened my day. Maybe you could leave an encouraging, sweet note for your friend that lets her know how great she is.
-Ashley, age 8, Missouri
You can't change the way she feels, but you can make sure that your friend knows you think she's amazing. Give her a card that says, "You're a wonderful friend" or "You're awesome!"
-Emma, age 11, Rhode Island
Make a "pick-me-up" box for your friend. On top, write, "Open me if you need a confidence boost!" Inside, include small items that represent things you admire about her. If she's a great tennis player, put in a tennis ball. If she knows a lot about the ocean, drop in a seashell.
-Lauren, age 10, Minnesota
It sounds as if this girl is good at one thing—picking good friends! If you show that you care, she'll appreciate your help and your friendship. Tell her that when she says something bad about herself, it makes you feel sad because you know she's a great person. With a friend like you, she'll find the support and encouragement she needs.
-Paige, age 11, Washington