Dealing With Low Self-Esteem In Your Teen
By Randi Morse
I swore when I had my children that I would do everything in my power to ensure that they had better self-esteem than I did when I was growing up. This was wishful thinking, unfortunately, and while both of my children have had our support and encouragement since they were little, they still have self-esteem issues. This is a common problem with teenagers no matter how supportive we tend to be as parents. Social media and peer pressure has made it more difficult than ever for your teen to have a healthy view of themselves.
Does My Teen Have Self-Esteem Problems?
Some teenagers make it very easy to see that they have problems with their self-esteem as they're always putting themselves down or saying how bad they are at something. Others are a bit trickier to determine. Does your teenager look away when they're talking with people, or have a difficult time looking someone in the eye? Do they focus a lot on the negative aspects of their interactions with their peers? When they're walking, do they hunch or look down at the ground a lot? Do they apologize all the time or brag constantly about their accomplishments? All of these can be signs of self-esteem issues.
How to Help
As a parent, there's only so much you can do to help your child with their self-esteem problems. It's truly something that they need to learn how to work on themselves. But you can give them tools to help. Teach your child to use positive self-talk. For example, if your teen has a science test tomorrow and they're going on and on about how they're going to fail and how they won't do well, stop them and explain that they need to focus on positivity. Instead of saying, "I can't do this," they should learn to say, "I've studied hard and I'm going to do my best."
Make sure you focus on the effort and whatever accomplishments your teenager has made rather than on them achieving perfection. If your teen got a background part in the musical, praise the fact that they were brave enough to audition. If they got a low score on a test, talk about how much they studied and how hard they worked and praise that. Help them learn that mistakes are not failures, but rather learning opportunities.
Keep bolstering up your teenager, but don't do false praise. Don't praise something that makes no sense, like the fact that they took a shower. Instead, focus on praising the small things and make sure that they understand you are always there to talk to.
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