Growing up is hard. Dealing with the angst of following the rules set by authority figures and the tug of peer pressure is hard. Looking at magazines, watching t.v., and following celebrities who set unattainable standards of beauty on social media outlets can be even harder. Along with puberty comes acne, new body odors, braces, and other teenage rites of passage that negatively impact the self esteem of youth. There are steps for parents and others to take in order to increase self esteem levels in the teenagers close to them.
The first tip to building self esteem according to an article on HealthyChildren.org is to be generous with praise. More often than not it is easier to reprimand teenagers when they do wrong than it is to praise them when they do right. It is important, however, to let them know when they please you. Whether it is making a good grade on a test, taking the trash to the curb, or helping a younger sibling with homework, all of the actions are good and should be praised. Another important skill to instill within teenagers is inner pride. Encourage teens to feel proud of themselves and their accomplishments. Another point to consider is that some teens with low self-esteem feel awkward when receiving praise. If this is the case, offer praise sparingly until it becomes less awkward. Over inundating a teen with low self-esteem with praises will make them feel like the compliments are not sincere and have an adverse effect to what is trying to be accomplished.
Other than praise, teenagers welcome any opportunity to voice their opinion. Asking your teen what they think about family interests will flatter them and cause them to feel like a grown up with a viewpoint that matters. It can be something as simple as choosing what movie to watch together as a family or asking what they think about a new piece of furniture for the house. The opportunity to offer an opinion and be heard will be appreciated and have a positive impact on self-esteem.
Encouraging talents and interests is another way to build a teenager’s self-esteem. If your teen enjoys basketball, then go to every game and outshine the cheerleaders. If your teen enjoys volunteering with community organizations, join them. Everyone has an innate need to be good at something, and the teen years are filled with trial and error of finding the thing to excel with. The least we can do as the people surrounding our youth is to build their dreams and talents up by supporting them.
Teenagers are tricky and moody, but all they need is to feel like they are contributing and doing their best to maintain a positive self image rather than a negative one. Build them up with praise, ask their opinions, and encourage their talents.