Self esteem could be described as having confidence in oneself. It’s having confidence in one’s abilities and having respect for who one is. Yet, there are so many factors that can contribute to a teen’s poor self esteem. Between peer pressure, bullying, competition, the need to fit in, some teens might only get the message that they are not accepted among their peers.
However, parents can combat this with loving, accepting, and empathetic responses to their teens. In fact, parents can play a large role in lifting a teen’s sense of self. The following are suggestions for parent who want to improve the self esteem and self confidence of their teen.
Tell your children you love them. When a teen feels love from his or her parents, it facilitates the ability for a teen to love themselves. And this is essential during adolescence. If a teen doesn’t love themselves, they are going to be more vulnerable to mental illness, addiction, and peer pressure. Teasing and bullying makes being oneself a difficult task. Being different in any way can bring social consequences, and it can dampen a teen’s self esteem. Parents can ease the pain of a low self-esteem by demonstrating their affection and clearly saying, “I love you,” to their children.
Look for the good in your teen. Although it might be apparent that praising your child can significantly support his or her positive sense of self, it’s easy to get caught up in the tasks of the day, chores and responsibilities, and the to-do list. For some parents, it’s easy to forget that relationships come first, and with that, seeing what your child did right instead of what he or she didn’t do can have significant impact on how she feels about her life.
Praise your children as much as possible. When parents offer frequent praise, their children get the message that it’s okay to be who they are. They are less likely to compare themselves to others and they will feel more confident in their skills and abilities. Children will also learn to celebrate their achievements and to trust their own feelings and inner experiences. It also facilitates discovering their own strengths and weaknesses, which is essential for knowing who one is.
Listen to your children. Most children want to be heard and understood. They want to know that what they say, the experiences they’re having, and the thoughts they are thinking matter. Parents can provide this to their children. They can do this by listening for what their teen is communicating underneath the words. When you acknowledge a teen’s feelings, you help them feel heard and understood. This, in turn, facilitates self-esteem and self-confidence.
Work on your own self-esteem. At times, it’s difficult for parents to facilitate self-esteem in their teens, if they themselves don’t feel confident. Teens can so easily absorb the feelings and moods of those around them. One of the most significant ways parents can improve their child’s self confidence is to work on themselves.
Although it’s easy to get lost in meeting life’s responsibilities, the underlying thoughts and feelings about oneself make such a difference in a teen’s experience of life. And parents can facilitate a healthy self-esteem in their teens with the above suggestions.