8 Tips to Help Build Your Teen’s Self-Esteem
Self-esteem plays a major role in how teens experience their world. Self-esteem is developed through an overall evaluation of oneself, including perception of self and/or others, beliefs in abilities, feelings, and the future related to that person's world. This sense of self can be positive and healthy, or negative and dysfunctional.
But while parents cannot create a teen's self esteem (teens do this on their own), parents do have a huge influence on their children's sense of self-worth. As a parent, your role is to reinforce your child’s positive sense of self. You do this not only by encouraging healthy behaviors but also by modeling them yourself.
Here are some ways to help your teen have high self-esteem:
- Teach your teen how be honest with him or herself.Help your children figure out their own strengths and weakness, and to accept themselves for who they are. It is important to enhance the areas of your teen’s strengths. Don’t let your teen compare him/herself negatively to others.
- Teach your teen how to set realistic goals. Help your teen get the most out of his/her strengths without demanding or expecting too much of them. Emphasis should be placed on doing one's best each day and taking one day at a time.
- Help your teen trust his/her feelings. Encourage your child to listen to that inner voice and to pay attention to emotions. This allows your teen to “own” his/her emotions.
- Teach your teen to enjoy his/her achievements.Celebrate your teen's successful efforts. Celebration can be in the form of praise or going out for special treat, like ice cream. It is important for your teen to feel special and loved.
- Create firm boundaries with your teen.Implement a clear set of rules and consequences to help your teen feel secure. Security can promote a positive self-image, which in turn creates a healthy self-esteem.
- Tell your teen that you love him/her.Offer hugs just for your teen being who he/she is.
- Give your teen words of encouragement or praise daily.Teens remember the positive statements parents say to them. Teens often store and replay them at a later time.
- Teach your teen how to utilize positive self-talk(also known as positive affirmations). What your teen thinks, determines how your teen feels, which determines how he/she behaves. An example of this is, “It is okay if our team lost today. We all tried our best. You can’t win them all.”
A teen with a positive, healthy sense of self will be able to act independently, assume responsibility, try new things, take pride in accomplishments, tolerate frustrations, handle positive and negative emotions, and help others. If you are already implementing these tips, great! If not, start today. It is never too late to help reinforce your teen’s self-esteem.
Kacee Tannenbaum, LCSW is the President/ Clinical Director of Provide 4, Inc.