DD has always been a very confident and outspoken kid. She does quite well with behavior at school, but at home we do have a lot of conflict at times. This is nothing new, as she's always been a challenging kiddo, and by this age (new 7) most of it is not big stuff, just a lot of tone of voice/rudeness concerns and argumentative behavior, or mild issues with her brother. Still, it would be accurate to say that we feel we need to correct her behavior fairly often while she is at home, which is something I worry about sometimes as the atmosphere can get a little negative. (I try really hard to have positive times with her, too.)
Anyway, recently she has been saying things like "I hate myself" and "I'm not good at anything" and "I don't like myself" from time to time. This is very new behavior. Rather than shutting her down with "Don't be silly" or whatever, I try to listen sensitively and ask what she means. She brings up both the fact that she is a slow runner (her recess seems to be all about chase games, which she hates) and the fact that she "gets in trouble all the time" at home. Otherwise, she isn't too specific. When I gently remind her that she is good at lots of things, like reading and math and art, she shrugs that off. Oh, another thing that may be relevant is that another child in her class, who is a year older, is getting pretty darn good at art, which is something that DD sometimes brings up ("X can draw better than I can"). I think it bothers her because "class artist" is kind of her "identity."
I can't tell if she really feels this way about herself (she doesn't act like a child who feels she is inferior, except when this comes up...she is very forthcoming with answers, always has her hand raised, very outgoing) or if she is saying this for some other reason. I wonder if she is noticing her difference and feeling weird about it. We are considering moving her to a gifted magnet school next year, which she recently toured, so for the first time we have talked to her about how she learns differently/more quickly than other kids and how we think school could be a little more exciting and challenging at the other school. She seems pretty positive about the other school and is not resisting the idea of the switch.
Thoughts? FWIW, I am not a big praiser. I really don't believe in empty praise, and I tend to praise mainly for hard work or kind behavior. We have very consciously not made a big thing about her being smart. At times like this I wonder if I have gone too far with that.
ETA that this looks "worse" in print than it "feels" when she is saying it. She isn't crying or visibly upset and she doesn't seem really agitated when she talks this way. It almost seems a bit like she is experimenting with the words, though I'm sure there is a core of some negative emotion that is behind this. Also, she comes out with this at random times, not after being disciplined or anything.