You might remember being a teenager, ages or not too long ago. Feeling awkward in your own body, dealing with new hormonal urges and coping with peer pressure at school and with friends, being a teenager is not even nearly as glamorous as it might be portrayed in the episodes of Gossip Girl. It is, thus, no wonder that many teens have to cope with depression and low self-esteem, as a result of their immediate environment, and even resort to drugs and alcohol for self-medication. So the question is how to rebuild a teen’s lost self-esteem.
How To Rebuild A Teen’s Lost Self Esteem
While some parents may think that their teen is just going through an angst-filled phase, it is important to recognize that the turbulent teenage years can manifest themselves in more significant psychological ways down the road through adulthood. That is, even if a teen is pushing everyone around him or her away, it is, first and foremost, the parents’ responsibility to offer support and understanding, no matter how trivial those teenage issues might seem to be.
Self-confidence is, of course, one of the hardest things to foster within an insecure teen – it is not something that can be learned overnight but is rather a gradual process of becoming comfortable and content with oneself. So with many adults suffering from the lack of self-confidence, how can parents learn to improve a teen’s confidence and self-esteem?
Self-Esteem And Home Life
Sometimes a lack of self-esteem stems from home. In other words, it is not the peers or the teachers who may constantly bring a teen down, but his or her own parents who may expect perfection on every corner from someone who is just learning to be independent. Teenagers already obsess enough about the way they look, the clothes they wear and how they are perceived by the others. If parents constantly reiterate to their teen how he or she can do better in school, how he or she is not putting enough effort into schoolwork or is not trying hard enough to make good friends, it only reaffirms the already-existing insecurities.
This does not mean that all the parents should instantly back off their teens and let them do whatever they please. But it is always more helpful and constructive when, instead of nagging a teenager to get better grades in school, a parent can suggest ways of improvement or even simply ask, “How can I help you to do better?”
Self-Esteem and Hobbies
Self-esteem is also fostered when a teen finds a hobby he or she is really passionate about and is, probably, very good at doing. Many parents already have an idea of what they want their teens to do as far as the extracurricular activities go and assume that their teens would be as passionate about these hobbies as the parents themselves. Many parents push their kids to try out for football teams, cheerleading squads, school plays, but it is important for all parents to ask their teens first about what it is that they want to do in their spare time. Oftentimes, a teen’s passions do not coincide with those of their parents, and if the parents are the sole decision-makers as far as the extracurriculars go, teens can be left very dissatisfied and unmotivated about what they are being pushed to do.
Praise Your Kids
Some parents are afraid of being generous with praise, thinking that too much of it will breed arrogance and over-confidence. But the truth is that praise does not have to be excessive – it can simply be a gesture of positive affirmation that can make the world of difference for self-esteem lacking teen who may feel like he or she can never get anything right. Positive attitude and affirmation can, in turn, lead to a teen beginning to make positive affirmations on his or her own. Praise can also foster a more effective approach to everyday problems and problem-solving. A teen can start looking at a problematic situation, without falling into despair about it but, instead, being able to make a positive self-statement to arrive at an eventual resolution.
Peer-pressure is ever-present in a teenager’s life. It goes without saying that cliques run rampant in even the strictest of schools under the most watchful eyes of the educators. Therefore, peer pressure combined with low self-esteem can often lead to teens doing absolutely foolish things just to fit in with the in-crowd. Sometimes, a parent needs to step in and warn a teen about the dangers of succumbing to peer pressure – the promise of popularity and acceptance is never guaranteed and, oftentimes, a teen ends up with a criminal record when he or she goes too far in the name of fitting in.
Self-Esteem and Life Lessons
But other times, self-esteem is fostered precisely by learning the tough lessons of life the hard way – through first-hand experiences and mistakes. One of the hardest things about being a parent is being able to know when to step aside and let a teen learn a lesson on his or her own. Self-esteem, after all, is not developed when a teen continues being a doormat to his or her friends and does what the friends want for the sake of acceptance. Eventually, a teen needs to learn to stand on his or her own, as parents will not always be there to lend a helping hand.
Balancing Act for Parents
Parents need to plan that delicate balance between being nurturing and knowing when to step back and let their teens resolve some problems on their won. The most important factor affecting a teenager’s self-esteem, however, is knowing that he or she will always have parental support to turn to when things get really rough. That parental support oftentimes can make all the difference in the world between a self-conscious kid and a confident young adult.
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