The teenage years are sensitive and fragile, as children transition into adulthood. For some teens, even the smallest slights and mishaps can cause them to spiral into self-pity and low self-esteem. According to Kidshealth.org, low-self esteem can lead to depression and an overall feeling of not being worthy. As a parent of a teen, you can counteract negative feelings that your child may be experiencing with positive words and actions.
Help teens overcome disappoint with positive outlooks. Kidshealth.org suggests redirecting your teen's thoughts when negativity starts to take over. For example, if your teen gets a low score on a college entrance exam and says, "I'll never get a good enough SAT score," immediately remind your teen to look at things from a positive perspective. You could say something like, "You have good grades in all of your classes and you can still re-take the test. I'll be there to help you study."
Praise your teens honestly. Always praise a job well done, but do so honestly. Don't say they were "the best" at something if they absolutely were not. This can set your teens up for disappointment and lead to less practice or studying if they falsely believe they are at the top of their game.
Reward true effort in your teens. They may not always reach the goals they set for themselves or your expectations, but if you know that they put 100-percent effort into trying, that should be acknowledged and celebrated.
Encourage your teens to try new things. Instead of feeling bad about not being good at a particular hobby or sport they were interested in, support your teens in finding other activities that they just might excel at.
Display a positive self-image. You are the biggest role model in your children's lives. According to Kidshealth.org, being negative about yourself, complaining about things that go wrong and speaking negatively about your looks, will only influence your teens to model your behavior.
Support positive changes. If your teens has low-self esteem because of being overweight, encourage them to make healthy, appropriate changes. Offer to take a walk with them every day after dinner. Go grocery shopping for healthier food items that the whole family will enjoy and cook meals together.
Respect individuality. Encourage your teens to express their personalities through through their clothing and hairstyles, within appropriate parameters that you set. You should also encourage your teens to speak their mind when something is bothering them, even if it's to agree with you, so that they know you respect their opinions.
Always show your love. No matter how old your teen gets, they need to know how much you love, support and believe in them. They may not appreciate public displays of affection, but don't hold back on the those hugs and kisses at home.
Tips & Warnings
- Take a least one day a month to spend individually with your teen children, doing an activity of their choice, to show them how important spending time with them is to you.
- KidsHealth.org: Developing Your Child's Self Esteem
- KidsHealth.org: Developing Your Child's Self-Esteem - How Parents Can Help
- Enrichment Journal: Helping Your Teen Feel Good About Himself/Herself
- KidsHealth.org: Encouraging a Healthy Body Image
- About Our Kids: How to Raise Girls withi Healthy Self-Esteem
- Photo Credit Andrew Olney/Photodisc/Getty Images