Author: admin


The teen years are a turbulent and confusing time. It is also often when self-esteem is determined. Self-esteem can create confident successful adults when developed properly, or it can wither under lack of confidence during the crucial move into adulthood. Whatever path a teenage takes during these next few years can define how they live the rest of their life. Many teens today are experiencing low self-esteem and is it a natural part of finding their way. The real question is, how can you rise above this?

Self-esteem improvement is obviously easier in theory, but it is well worth the hard work to make this happen. Low self-esteem usually comes from comparing yourself to other people and believing that you do not measure up. Additionally, it arises from not having the accomplishments or not having a pathway and future clearly laid out.

Taking steps to build your self-esteem is one of the best things you can do for yourself. As you start to improve your feelings of self-worth, your life, attitude and outlook will improve.


Developing high self-esteem can help you to:

 • Build confidence

• Take the first steps and appropriate risks to achieve goals

• Surround yourself with people who are positive, respectful and supportive

• Believe in your own abilities

• Have stronger friendships and empowering relationships

• Faces challenges and handle life’s problems.

• Be happy with who you are.

15 Signs Your Child Is A Victim of Bullying

Bullying rates in Canada are two-thirds higher than other Western countries1. In over ninety percent of these situations, bullying could have been put to an end by an innocent bystander2. In today’s technology and connected environment, teenagers are more likely to pull out their cellphones than attempt to assist a fellow student that is being subject to bullying behavior. Parents need to stay educated and help guide their children on appropriate ways to deal with these difficult situations.

                    Bullying can occur in many forms and situations. Cyber bulling takes place over the internet and often experienced by the child while in their own home. While cyber bullying is the new trend, physical and verbal bullying are just as common3.What parents should acknowledge is that children will often not vocalize to their family that they are being victimized.


During the “Empowered Me” Stix and Stones workshops, my students and l dedicate much of our discussion time on the topic. It is a safe environment  which allows students to be open and let out the hurt. There is clearly a high level of anxiety and emotional pain. When asked why they don’t discuss this victimisation with somebody they trust or their caretakers, the response from most of them has been “The stuff my parents tell me to try won’t work” or “ I am too embarrassed to tell anyone” It’s so heartbreaking to listen to those responses and how the students keep this pain close to their chest.


Bullying can cause serious harm to a child’s self-esteem, and will often lead to depression and anxiety. Victims are more likely to commit suicide or participate in criminal activity as an adult4.


The WITS (Walk Away, Ignore, Tell Somebody, Seek Help) program has had a positive impact in bringing together families, schools, communities to create conversations that help with children with bullying and peer victimization.

If parents know the signs of bullying and actively look for these, they can intervene and help their children minimize or put an end to the harassment before it’s too late. There is helpful information available from many sources5.


Here is one of the more comprehensive list of signs:


  1. A child’s refusal to talk about their day at school or a consistent expression of severe hate towards attending school. 
  2. Sudden mood changes, such as being withdrawn, angry, sad, or anxious.
  3. Unexplained damage to or missing school supplies, books, toys, electronic devices, or clothes.
  4. Comments about feeling lonely or having few friends.
  5. Frequent visits to the nurse’s office with complaints of a headache or stomachache.
  6. Sudden drop in grades and interest in afterschool activities.
  7. Problems sleeping, nightmares, or bed wetting.
  8. Unexplained marks, cuts, scratches, or bruises on your child’s body.
  9. Sudden change in appetite, either an increase or decrease. Binge eating after school may be a sign that their lunch or lunch money is being taken. A decrease in appetite may be a sign of depression.
  10. Your Child frequently creates excuses to stay home from school.
  11. A sudden change in group of friends or loss of friends.
  12. Your Child might get into trouble more often and start acting out in class.
  13. He or she avoids using the bathroom at school, and waits until they’re home. Bathrooms are often left unattended, and bullies will use this as an opportunity to harass classmates, knowing there’s no adult supervision.
  14. Signs of low self-esteem or comments which reflect a feeling of helplessness.
  15. Your child demonstrates fear of walking to school or taking the bus, and demands that you be there at dismissal time.


If your child is a victim of bullying, do not let them push it aside. Speak to a school administrator and seek help immediately.



Self Esteem and Being Bald

I shaved my hair last month for a United Way fundraising event. Since then, the reaction has ranged from comical to interesting. Appearance and image is important to many of us and hair plays a vital role in this. Hair, especially long, flowing styles, are associated with vitality and youthfulness. Hairstyle can alter one’s looks either positively or negatively. To have one’s hair thin out can be a very difficult situation to deal with and impact the very essence of who we are and how we believe others will perceive us.




Positive self-esteem together with confidence drive our self-perception of being attractive. Hair loss will often lead to lower self-esteem. People faced with baldness are susceptible to psychological and emotional stresses, especially if it is coming at the early stages of their lives. A young adult who experiences hair loss will often be perceived to be an older individual, regardless of how young their face might look.

Frustration and helplessness is arguably the most common reaction associated with bald individuals. At the beginning, the person resorts to using shampoos, hair vitamins and other hair care or hair replacement products. Many, if not most of these solutions, will be seen as a poor substitute for natural hair and this can lead to depression and sometimes, anger issues.

Having just shaved my head, please be assured that being bald is not the end of the world. Attitude and how you carry yourself has far more to do with how the world perceives you than does your hair. Most women might not find this easy. However, consider that a good number of men feel comfortable with bald heads and carry these with pride.

Firstly, focus more on the positive aspects of it rather than the negatives. Ever since l shaved my hair, I have added an extra 40 minutes to my sleeping time, eliminated salon expenses, discovered an entirely new and exciting hair accessory world, and permanently removed the discomfort of hair in my face. I have even improved my running times. My friends now call me “The Bullet” and had l known this could lead to running faster, I would have gotten rid of those curls years ago! I find people now focus more on my facial features and eyes than before. It has made me stand out from the crowd and have used this effectively in drawing people to engage them in conversations when promoting several charity events.

For me, being bald has meant using my image as a bald woman to communicate to people to love themselves unconditionally. And I know that I will never have a bad hair day!

Two Major Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem to Have a Better Relationship


Likely you may have heard that you have to love yourself in order to have a successful and loving relationship with someone else. But what does it mean to love yourself, and how do you achieve it? Self-love is a contemporary term that is related to understanding yourself, having confidence. This requires independence. The two methods below are tied and true to help you maintain the independence that is important to reconnect with yourself and gain self-esteem:


Take a Break: These might be dreaded words in relationships, but taking a break has gotten a bad reputation. We need vacations from work, we move away from our childhood homes, so taking some time off from a relationship only makes sense. A break doesn’t have to mean your relationship is broken off temporarily, it can mean taking a few days away from each other to recharge, reconnect with family, or go rediscover some of your favorite activities. Getting some space is important for developing your ability to see things from a different perspective, maintain friendships and family, and for maintaining your sense of self as an individual.


Take Care of Yourself: It can be as simple as giving yourself a manicure or as complicated as finally getting to the doctor. If you are spending all your time taking care of others, you may see your worth only as your ability to make them happy, better, and healthier. If you expect others to take care of you, you may end up disappointed or feel helpless if they don’t. It is important to know you need care, and there is no shame in taking opportunities to put yourself first. Taking care of yourself builds your confidence and independence, and this will make you more effective in supporting the ones you love and building a stronger relationship.

Dalai Lama quantified that tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. Having been faced with a tragedy, I was naturally compelled to ask- why me? So I reverted to what many told me to do. That is, ‘Be Positive.’ I realized that this ‘Be Positive’ attitude which is widely broadcasted and is successful as well, is exactly what prevented me from staying knocked down and from getting knocked out. The utmost wonder in living exists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. At times, we don’t realize how strong we are until we are faced with tragedy.

Life is like a game of dodgeball. Sometimes we can avoid getting hit, other times you never even see the ball coming that knocks you out. To my friends and every one affected by the fire outbreak in Fort McMurray, this is the time to be resilient. This is the time to be strong. When you put together a jigsaw puzzle you do it piece by piece. You will rebuild your lives again. When you lose something, it comes back in another form.

I cannot say l know how you feel – l don’t. I cannot imagine the tragedy you have been through. Things you lost do not define who you are. How you respond to the things you have lost, is the part you have to make up as you go. But I encourage you to display your positivity by remembering that mental breaks and relaxation will help keep stress chemicals at bay, reducing the likelihood of feeling, or becoming overwhelmed and reactive.

Above all, no matter what sort of difficulties we encounter, how painful the experience, if we lose hope, that becomes our real tragedy.

Bасk to ѕсhооl often means adapting to a new situation or environment for students it can mean that the first dау of kіndеrgаrtеn, junior or senior high school. Both parents and children could be in for changing routines with new рrеѕсhооlѕ or сhіld саrе ѕеttіngѕ; different bus stops and routes; new сlаѕѕrооmѕ and tеасhеrѕ. Successfully fitting into a new situation will build confidence in children. It will tеасh them to learn how to communicate with оthеr аdultѕ and сhіldrеn. Hеlріng сhіldrеn аdарt to new ѕіtuаtіоnѕ саn еаѕе раrеntѕ’ mіndѕ and give them a сhаnсе to bесоmе іnvоlvеd in thеіr сhіldrеn’ѕ еduсаtіоn. Trаnѕіtіоnѕ are еxсіtіng орроrtunіtіеѕ for сhіldrеn to lеаrn and grow. Pаrеntѕ and еаrlу сhіldhооd рrоfеѕѕіоnаlѕ ѕhаrе a rоlе in making сhіldrеn fееl ѕаfе and ѕесurе аѕ thеу mоvе to new еduсаtіоnаl ѕеttіngѕ. Of соurѕе, ѕuсh mіlеѕtоnеѕ in a child’s life саn саuѕе аnxіеtу, tоо. Strеngthеnіng the tіеѕ bеtwееn рrоgrаmѕ and fаmіlіеѕ wіll hеlр сrеаtе ѕmооth trаnѕіtіоnѕ for adults and сhіldrеn alike.



How Раrеntѕ Саn Hеlр:


  1. Be еnthuѕіаѕtіс аbоut the uрсоmіng сhаngе. If уоu are еxсіtеd and соnfіdеnt, уоur сhіld wіll be tоо.
  2. Prераrе уоurѕеlf. Take note of how уоur сhіld rеасtѕ to ѕераrаtіоn. If роѕѕіblе, vіѕіt the new ѕеttіng with уоur сhіld. Intrоduсе уоur сhіld to the new tеасhеr or еаrlу childhood рrоfеѕѕіоnаl in аdvаnсе.
  3. Arrange a рlауdаtе with аnоthеr сhіld from the рrоgrаm, рrеfеrаblу оnе-оn-оnе, ѕо thаt уоur сhіld wіll ѕее a fаmіlіаr fасе when he or ѕhе walks in.
  4. Start dаіlу rоutіnеѕ thаt wіll add to соntіnuіtу. Let уоur сhіld bесоmе іnvоlvеd with расkіng lunch or lауіng out сlоthеѕ. Alѕо, begin an еаrlіеr bеdtіmе routine in advance.
  5. Put аѕіdе extra time, раrtісulаrlу on the first dау, for сhаttіng and соmmutіng tоgеthеr. But rеmеmbеr not to рrоlоng the gооd-bуе. If the сhіld whіnеѕ or сlіngѕ, ѕtауіng wіll оnlу make it harder.
  6. Alwауѕ ѕау gооd-bуе to уоur сhіld. Be firm, but frіеndlу аbоut ѕераrаtіng. Never rіdісulе a сhіld for сrуіng. Inѕtеаd, make ѕuрроrtіvе ѕtаtеmеntѕ like, “іt’ѕ hard to ѕау gооd-bуе.”
  7. At the end of the work dау, рut аѕіdе уоur соnсеrnѕ and fосuѕ on bеіng a раrеnt.

Remember that teachers and other childhood development experts are professionals. Most have strong experience and are trained to deal with kids who may be anxious, particularly if the child is in a new setting. As a parent, you can familiarize yourself with some techniques below and watch for which are most effective for your child. Teachers and child development experts may use some of the following:

  1. Making sure асtіvіtіеѕ are dеvеlорmеntаllу аррrорrіаtе for сhіldrеn. Intеrеѕtіng and сhаllеngіng, but dоаblе, асtіvіtіеѕ wіll hеlр сhіldrеn fееl соmfоrtаblе in thеіr new ѕеttіng.
  2. Getting to know еасh іndіvіduаl сhіld аѕ quісklу аѕ роѕѕіblе. Pаrеntѕ саn рrоvіdе іnfоrmаtіоn аbоut сhіldrеn’ѕ lіkеѕ, dіѕlіkеѕ, and ѕресіаl іntеrеѕtѕ.
  3. Wеlсоming ѕuggеѕtіоnѕ from fаmіlіеѕ, раrtісulаrlу thоѕе of сhіldrеn with ѕресіаl nееdѕ. Pаrеntѕ саn оffеr ѕресіfіс ѕuggеѕtіоnѕ thеу have found uѕеful for thеіr own сhіld, and аdvіѕе on сlаѕѕrооm ѕеt-uр and mоdіfісаtіоnѕ.
  4. Holding a оrіеntаtіоn for сhіldrеn and раrеntѕ. Small grоuрѕ wіll make it еаѕіеr for сhіldrеn to get to know еасh оthеr.
  5. Showing сhіldrеn аrоund the new ѕсhооl or рrоgrаm, іntrоduсіng them to оthеr аdultѕ who are there to hеlр them bесоmе ассlіmаtеd.
  6. Crеаting раrtnеrѕhірѕ bеtwееn рrе-ѕсhооlѕ and еlеmеntаrу ѕсhооlѕ in the соmmunіtу. Mееtіngѕ mау fосuѕ on the ѕhаrіng of іdеаѕ and соnсеrnѕ.
  7. Setting up an аrеа for рhоtоѕ of раrеntѕ and fаmіlу mеmbеrѕ thаt сhіldrеn mау “vіѕіt” throughout the dау. These areas can іnсludе іtеmѕ thаt rеflесt the сulturаl еxреrіеnсе of all сhіldrеn to hеlр рrоmоtе a ѕеnѕе of mutuаl rеѕресt and undеrѕtаndіng.

Children, just like аdultѕ, nееd time to аdjuѕt to new реорlе and ѕіtuаtіоnѕ. Exреrіеnсе саn make trаnѕіtіоn a bit еаѕіеr, but еvеn with еxреrіеnсе, сhаngе саn ѕtіll be ѕtrеѕѕful. Pаtіеnсе and undеrѕtаndіng on the раrt of раrеntѕ and tеасhеrѕ or саrеgіvеrѕ wіll hеlр сhіldrеn lеаrn how to аррrоасh new ѕіtuаtіоnѕ with соnfіdеnсе ѕkіll thаt wіll hеlр them make ѕuссеѕѕful trаnѕіtіоnѕ all thrоugh life.

It was a rainy day but you would never have been able to tell by the smiling faces and bright-eyes on the children who walked into the Prince Charles School gymnasium earlier this month. These 9- and 10-year-olds were there to participate in the Empowered Me Leadership Program which helps facilitate self-discovery and allow them to evolve into leaders at their school. The program does this by building the students’ own self-confidence and self-esteem.

Harriet Tinka began the session by setting a few ground rules and received everyone’s commitment to be part of the program. The students understood that they had to listen to one another, as a form of respect, and raise their hands when they wanted to speak and participate.


During the ice-breaker activity, she asked the children’s age, grade and the answer to a question they had chosen. Questions ranged from what types of sounds they can hear at the zoo, to their favorite kind of pizza. The responses came slowly and quietly, but Harriet seamlessly moved from student to student to interact with them and share a bit about herself too. “Have you been to the zoo? Oh! My favorite animal is the elephant.”

Self-Confidence vs. Self-Esteem

“What is self-confidence?” Harriet asks. A few hands go up. “It’s when I feel confident,” says one student.

It is a difficult word to try to explain – event for adults – so Harriet explains that it is a feeling someone gets when they are able to do something well. For example, she likes to run and feels very good about herself that she can do that. However, she is unable to ride a bike and does not feel good about her ability to do that with others.

The children get excited at this nugget of information and begin to share what they were good at: “Video games,” they say. “Riding a bike!”

The next concept to explain is about self-esteem, which is likened to a treasure box. Each compliment is a gem which fills the treasure box, and sometimes the treasure box overflows with all the self-esteem someone can have. However, every now and then, some people are mean and give insults instead of compliments which is like taking out the gems in the treasure box – enough so that we sometimes close the treasure box altogether. No amount of compliments will enter the treasure box because it is now closed. So what can open the treasure box of self-esteem?


The first key to self-esteem is the feeling of belonging. Feeling a sense of community with people, friends, school and family. The second key is accomplishment, knowing that the students can do things well. And the third and final key is feeling appreciated.

Harriet then asks the children what they are grateful for in their lives. Answers are shared through creative drawings and range from the love of their pets, favorite foods, to specific articles of clothing.. Many appreciated that they could ride a bicycle!

At the end of the workshop, the children are left with a feeling of belonging to a distinct group of leaders in their school. In only a few hours, they begin to understand that they are special, valued and can help the younger students feel those same things. The children left the gymnasium with a few hugs and some great mementos to help them remember their new found lessons. With ongoing support from their teachers, students will continue to develop to become better versions of themselves.



Empowered Me aims to inspire, educate, empower, value and support all individuals to have a sense of purpose and live to their full potential through innovative, life-changing, sustainable, supportive and educational workshops. Harriet Tinka is a motivational speaker, life coach, blogger, youth supporter, entrepreneur and life enthusiast. Her passion and deepest desire in life is to help empower people of all ages to let go of their limitations and fears to be the best version of themselves. More information about her workshops can be found at

Raising confident young men not as easy at it may seem

 It might be a man’s world but boys sometimes need a little help in becoming strong, independent and self-confident, just as much as girls. Low self-esteem simply doesn’t discriminate based on gender. Boys are often not encouraged to discuss their feelings, as much as little girls, and may find it difficult to express how they feel about themselves or the situations affecting them.


Little boys are often praised for their physical attributes, instead of traits that really matter — intelligence, compassion and goodwill, for example. They are often not encouraged to play differently as not all little boys play with trucks, footballs or roll in the dirt. If they prefer reading a book, or playing with dolls, they often do not have the support that celebrates those differences.


Since low self-esteem is a thinking disorder where an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable and/or incompetent, this negative view permeates through every aspect of their lives, through thought and behaviour. For little boys, this low self-esteem may manifest itself through violent or disruptive behaviour at school, or recoiling from all activities or conversation.


According to one article, for a growing number of boys, school is creating what some experts consider to be real psychological trauma.


“We’re seeing a massive effect not only on boys who are falling behind in school but also on those who seem to be doing fine,” said William Pollack, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “They’re hiding behind a mask, feeling an angst and pain that go very deep and that lead not only to a disengagement from learning, but also from the adults who provide it and the parents who care for them. There’s a silent sense of shame that some will eventually outgrow, but that others who are not as lucky will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”


To help boys with their self-esteem and self-confidence, Empowered Me is conducting a workshop for boys ages 10-15 on November 26 (12-4pm) at McCauley School (9538 107 AVE NW) to help build their ability and confidence to better discuss their feelings and, once again, feel empowered. To sign up the young man in your life, please contact Harriet directly.

2016 is drawing to a close and 2017 gives us hope for a better future. Or does it?


Some people like to disagree but Empowered Me likes to think positively and look towards new possibilities.


A new year allows us all to start fresh, start anew. It gives us the power to look back at all the good things we’ve done in the year and then think about where we want to be in the coming year. 


In 2016, we helped hundreds of kids feel better about themselves, empowered them to help others in their community as leaders and worked with women who needed a support to get them headed in the right direction. It’s been an incredibly powerful year for Empowered Me!



As we look towards 2017, we know that we’re going to grow our great work with boys, girls and anybody else who needs a little encouragement to feel completely empowered. We have children’s workshops already planned for February 2017 where we’ll help more kids with their sense of self, and getting them to feel more self-confident. Self-confidence goes a long way for kids and we also know that the skills children learn when they’re young, put them in a better place as they grow up.


None of this would be possible without you, so we look forward to more support from you in getting kids in Edmonton and surrounding areas, feeling hopeful for the future. So, while 2016 is closing, we have hope for a better future in 2017. Yes, we’re confident we do!


From our family to yours, we wish you the best holiday season and an incredible outlook for 2017.

This Self Esteem and Body Confidence workshop will discuss the three components of Self Esteem and also include tools that cover these topics:

  1.  1. Self awareness of her ability to create her own path
  2. 2.  Awareness and trusting her own instincts
  3. 3. Accountability in making her own decisions
  4. 4. Claiming your own strengths
  5. 5. Appreciating your powerful, natural and amazing body
  6. 6. Cyber bullying and bullying
  7. 7. Discussion on issues impacting our teens today

February 18, 2017

12.00 pm to 3 pm @McCauley School 9538 107 Avenue

For girls ages 13 – 16

Six week program Feb 18, March 4, 11, 18, 25  and April 1