Effects of the Turtle Technique on Self-Esteem

The turtle technique is known to improve self-control. In addition, it has great benefits for kids' self-esteem.
Effects of the Turtle Technique on Self-Esteem
Ana Couñago

Written and verified by the psychologist Ana Couñago.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Teaching children how to control themselves isn’t easy, especially if they have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or other behavioral issues. In these cases, we recommend using techniques designed to help. For example, the turtle technique is a great option. This, in addition to helping learn self-control, has lots of other benefits for children. In this article, we’ll talk about the effects of the turtle technique on self-esteem.

First, we must explain what self-control is. Self-control is the ability to regulate the intensity, frequency and duration of your own behaviors, emotions and feelings. This includes managing impulses, stress, frustration, anger, aggressiveness, fear, etc.

“Self-control is not doing what I feel. It’s knowing how to choose what to do with what I feel.”

– Anonymous –

What is the Turtle Technique?

The turtle technique is based on the fact that when they feel threatened, they curl up and hide in their shell. Similarly, kids can do the same thing to control their own impulses, behaviors and emotions in a given situation. To use this self-control technique correctly, you need to take the following steps. Teach your child to:

Effects of the Turtle Technique on Self-Esteem
  1. Respond to the word “turtle”: When your child hears this keyword, he should shrink, putting his head in his arms.
  2. Relax his muscles while in this position. When his muscles are relaxed, he’ll be less aggressive and disruptive.
  3. Use problem-solving techniques (modeling, discussion groups, role-playing, positive reinforcement, social reinforcement, mediation, etc.). Teach your child that there are other ways to handle the situation that made him curl up like a turtle.

In fact, it’s important to teach these steps gradually. That is, until your child masters one step, you can’t move on to the next. This way, your child becomes familiar with the turtle technique little by little. Then, they can do each step correctly.

“There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse.”

– Daniel Goleman –

Benefits of using the Turtle Technique

As we’ve seen, the turtle technique’s main goal is for children to learn to control themselves. In addition, this technique is beneficial for:

Effects of the Turtle Technique on Self-Esteem

However, do you know why this technique improves children’s self-esteem? We’ll tell you more below.

Effects on self-esteem

Mastering the turtle technique has very positive effects on kids’ self-esteem. This is because kids:

  • Learn to control themselves without needing other people to intervene. This includes parents, teachers, and other adults. Therefore, children feel fulfilled and trust their own abilities.
  • Get positive reinforcement from not showing inappropriate behaviors. Thanks to this, they feel satisfied with their actions and decisions because they get rewarded.
  • Feel like big kids that know how to use different problem-solving techniques instead of acting impulsively.

“All children and adolescents have the need to feel loved, the desire to feel heard, and the desire to feel useful.”

– César Bona –

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Schneider, M. y Robin, A. (1990). La técnica de la tortuga. Un método para el autocontrol de la conducta impulsiva. T. Bonet (Comp.), Problemas psicológicos en la infancia. Valencia: Promolibro.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.