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To Sam

Self esteem

I always feel self conscious about how I look, and my voice. I have a bit of a lisp and people sometimes mimick me about it. It makes me feel upset and embarrassed.

I know I'm small for my age, but recently I've noticed I'm a bit behind other girls in puberty. It makes me feel weird, like they can all talk about periods ect and I just sit there awkwardly. I'm afraid to meet new people and I don't talk very much, if I do I try as hard as I can not to use words with an "s" or a "c" in them as I make the lisp noise.

i don't want to be different, but the way I look and talk makes my confidence go down, and I just wish I didn't have this lisp


Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me about this – it sounds like it’s really difficult for you to go through this. I want to start by saying that there is nothing wrong with you whatsoever. There is not one person in the whole world like you – you are unique and your family and friends are very lucky to know you.

I realise that at this time in your life it’s really important to fit in and to feel like you are part of the group. Unfortunately, people don’t always work like that – some of us are different and stand out from the crowd a bit. That can be scary, especially when you are a bit nervous about what other people might think of you. Perhaps you can think about it this way – do the people that you love and care for, love and care for you? Are all those people, you are nervous about speaking to, lovely people? I guarantee you that some of them really aren’t, and the people that are - really don’t mind that you have a lisp or that you are a bit small for your age or that you haven’t started puberty yet.

We all compare ourselves to others and usually feel like we just aren’t good enough. Some people feel they are too tall, too small, too big, too skinny, too blonde, too brunette, too sporty, not sporty enough, too geeky, or not smart enough….in some way just not good enough. But we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about who we want to be good enough for? Everyone, really, is just right just the way they are…it just takes time for us all to figure that out.

Unfortunately we can’t control how others see us or how they treat us – but we can control how we see ourselves, how we treat others and who we want to be around. Puberty will come to you and it’s not something you can hurry or change, it will come to you when you are ready. That you are small for your age and that you have a lisp may be things that aren’t ever going to change, and maybe they don’t have to! They are part of what makes you who you are… you judge your friends because they are too tall for their age or got their periods too soon? We are all different and that’s what makes us interesting.

Have you thought about talking to a family member or a friend about how you feel? Sometimes hearing that your friends and family care for you can help make you see how important you really are to them….I know it can be hard to talk about something like this, but almost everyone has been through something similar to this so it’s okay to ask for some support or some ideas to help make you feel better.

I hope this has been helpful but if you do need to talk again ChildLine is always there for you to talk to.

Take care,


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