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Teenagers and Self Esteem

Updated on May 24, 2013

Teenagers and a Good Self Esteem

Good self esteem in teenagers helps them make good decisions.
Good self esteem in teenagers helps them make good decisions. | Source

Teenagers Need a Good Self Esteem

A good self esteem will provide a person with the major necessities to succeed in all areas of their lives. From achieving happiness and self satisfaction, to feeling better about who they are, a good self esteem is essential to an individual’s personal well being.

Self esteem has a major impact on relationships. People who feel good about themselves treat others well too. The worse someone feels about themselves, the worse they treat others. In families where there is low self esteem, relationships can self destruct. Self esteem begins in the home a child grows up in and the environment that surrounds them.

Parents and a Teenager's Self Esteem

Parents who feel good about themselves will treat their child well and help build good feelings within their children. In order for your teens to have a good self esteem, it must start with you, the parent and how you feel about yourself.

Our self esteem is a work in progress from birth through all the years of our lives. It fluctuates at different points in our lives, and it needs attention perpetually.

Just as we groom and care for our body, we need to groom and care for our ego. This requires small and persistent actions that we learn and and can turn into good habits that we do daily.

Parents play a very important role in their children’s self esteem. When we take every opportunity to instill a feeling that they are okay the way they are. That we love them unconditionally, and that they can feel good about themselves. As they grow from children to teenagers, it becomes even more important to continually praise them and build their self esteem.

Words of Praise for Teens

Words of praise go a long way in helping your child feel good about themselves.
Words of praise go a long way in helping your child feel good about themselves. | Source

Adolescents and Their Self Esteem

In the teenage years, as an adolescent asserts their independence and struggle to fit in with their peers, they may even lose a sense of who they are. A parent's role of fortifying their self esteem becomes ever more important. Often we tell our teenagers what they have done wrong, but may not tell them enough what they have done right.

Taking note of the little and big things they do, and doling out praise for their efforts and accomplishments feeds their egos in ways that can last a lifetime. Help your child feel proud of who they are, and their pride will emanate outward in ways that will give them the confidence to make the right decisions, circumvent these difficult teenage years, and grow into productive and happy adults. And one day, they hopefully will be able to build a legacy in their children by building strong egos in future generations.

People who have a low self esteem have difficulty accepting praise. If they don’t feel good about themselves, compliments have no place to go. It turns into I call “DNC - Does Not Compute”.

Kids need sincere compliments, and kids need constructive criticism. If you do criticize them, don’t put them down, or be hurtful. The way your phrase statements can make all the difference. Instead of making a blanket statement asking them how could they have done that..., start with something you see they did correctly, and tell them how you are sure they will do better next time, perhaps by such and such suggestion. Try your best to avoid demeaning them.

Suggestions to Build a Teenager's Ego

Some suggestions to build a teenager’s ego:

  • involve them in family decisions and use some of their suggestions. Teens like to be treated like adults and it is a big boost to their ego when they are treated like a grown up.

  • encourage them to do the things that are right up the things they like to do and the things they are talented at doing. Helping them to feel like they can excel at things, or helping them to cultivate their passions will build a level of competency that will help them feel good about themselves. Give them lots of support in their endeavors, as long as it is something they want to be doing, not something you want your child to be doing.

  • help them to find positive ways to find themselves and discover their self identity.

  • volunteer work is another good way to help gain a sense of self confidence. Within your school and community there may be many opportunities for your child to participate in volunteer work. They will feel better about who they are, just by making a difference.

Everyone needs to feel valued. Kids especially want to feel valued by their peers, their families, their teachers. Community service is an excellent way to help kids feel like they are doing something worthwhile. By doing something positive, they will naturally feel good about themselves.

Families and Self Esteem

Benefits of a Good Self Esteem

Developing a positive self image and a high self esteem in teenagers, is integral to their happiness and success as they grow into adults. How kids feel about themselves is reflected in their behavior.

Teenagers with high self esteem are:

  • autonomous to some extent

  • assume responsibility

  • take pride in their own accomplishments

  • have a higher frustration level

  • try new things and take on challenges

  • manage their emotions, both positive and negative

  • be able to help others

  • able to handle disappointment

A teenager with low self esteem will:

  • avoid trying new things

  • feel unlovable

  • blame others

  • feel emotionally isolated

  • have a low frustration level

  • put themselves down

  • not appreciate their own talents and abilities

  • be easily influenced

Teenagers and Parents

Parents have a lot to do with self esteem in their children.
Parents have a lot to do with self esteem in their children. | Source

Parents Need to Tell Their Children

Parents by far are the most influential factor in promoting their child’s good ego. Most parents do this naturally when they give their children supporting words, and actions that show their love and loyalty. Sometimes parents can say things that put a child down. This can hurt their self esteem. Be sure to tell your child:

  • you like something they did

  • you love them for who they are

  • encourage their talents

  • they are a valuable member of the family

  • any positive feelings you have about them

  • empower your child

  • can ask for what they want in a positive and assertive manner

Encourage your child to accept praise and to say positive self statements to themselves on a regular basis.

Teenagers and Moods

Everything begins with a thought. Self talk is very important to the thoughts we have. Negative self thought is related to depression, anxiety, and low moods. What a child tells themselves will determine how they feel and how they behave.

Try to avoid criticizing, shaming, or embarrassing your child. If there is something they have done that you don’t like, tell them you don’t like what they have done, but don’t attack their character. They will internalize the things you say to them, and you don’t want them to carry these negative feelings with them forever. By using “I” statements, instead of “you“ statements, you will help avoiding attacking their ego. An example: “I would appreciate you putting your dishes in the sink instead of leaving them on the table, when you are done.”

If it comes out “you are not doing your share by cleaning up,” or "you are lazy”, what you say to your child will have a different message. Even if you feel angry, take a second to think about how they will feel after you are done telling them what you think.

Help your child to make good decisions. Encourage your child to trust themselves to make the right choices. Help them to approach things with a positive attitude. Help your teenager to accept responsibility for their behavior, and to have self discipline.

When you do have to enact a punishment, always make it appropriate to what they have done wrong. If they stayed past their curfew for the first time and you take away their cell phone for a year, it might be too strong a punishment for their wrongdoing. Be fair, be firm, and be open. Sometimes you can let your child choose their punishment. You might be surprised that your child picks a punishment harsher than you would pick.

A Good Self Esteem in a Teenager

Instilling a good self esteem in your teenager will last a lifetime.
Instilling a good self esteem in your teenager will last a lifetime. | Source

A Positive Self Image is Important for Teenagers

Some more tips on boosting your teen’s ego:

  • Teach your children that they are not responsible for another person’s feelings. Don’t make your child responsible for how you feel.

  • Encourage your teenager to develop interests and hobbies that they derive pleasure from.

  • Let your kids settle their disagreements with their siblings on their own.

  • Teach your not let themselves be teased by other kids, or certainly not show they feel hurt to the kids who are teasing them, this will only encourage more teasing.

  • focus on their strengths

  • encourage kindness in your kids

  • help them think beyond the box and to come up with alternatives that may be more satisfying to them

  • teach your kids to make light of situations. Kids need to laugh and relax and have fun and learn about their true selves.

There also is a correlation to time kids spend with their parents and their self esteem.

According to a study done by Penn State University, kids start spending less time with their parents starting at about age 15. While kids need to start to be independent, time with parents adds to the overall well being of the family.

A positive image and a good self esteem starts with the family, and especially the parents. A positive self esteem gives a teenager the courage to do what is best for themselves and to stand up against peer pressure, and the negative encounters teenagers will inevitably encounter. A good self esteem is integral to the choices your teenager’s will make as they grow into adulthood.

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