Self-Esteem in Teenagers: An Essential Foundation for Personal Growth
Self-esteem is a critical factor influencing a person’s mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. In essence, self-esteem is the perception one holds about themselves. It is the sense of personal value and self-worth that can significantly impact a teenager’s life. The teenage years can be very confusing. No matter how much kids try to wrap their heads around the changes they go through, they still might end up feeling worthless. But that doesn’t necessarily have to happen.
Factors Causing Low Self-Esteem in Teenagers
Self-esteem isn’t built on its own. Various aspects play an active role in contributing to low self-esteem in teenagers, such as:
- Unsupportive and authoritative (super strict) parenting can lead a kid to think that they are worthless.
- Peer pressure can play a significant role in low-self and the kids might end up in the wrong crowd.
- Traumatic events like car accidents, house fires, abuse, or stressful events like divorce or moving houses (evictions).
- Having unrealistic expectations about academic achievement and performing poorly at school no matter how hard they try.
- Loneliness can also lead to low self-esteem because teenagers need people to talk to about what is going on with them.
- Excessive use of social media can also lead to low self-esteem because teenagers begin to believe that they cannot meet the standards of what is being shown on social media. Probably, because it is all too fake.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem in Teenagers
It can be easy for parents to ignore or even miss the signs of low self-esteem because they think that can happen to any teenager. Here are some of the signs to recognize:
- Your teen never completes the task given to them. Either they don’t do anything or if they commit, they quit too soon.
- They often cheat or lie to get their way because they think that they cannot achieve anything on their own.
- Teens can show signs of regression, behaving like babies, or being silly. They think that this might get them what they want, but instead, this sort of behavior invites bullying.
- Your teenager may become inflexible or rigid to hide their true insecurities.
- They can begin to retreat socially and stay away from any social gatherings. They also tend to talk less, even with their close friends.
- Your teen might begin to show little to no interest in doing new things, accepting new challenges, etc. They lack motivation.
Improve Self-Esteem in Teenagers
If you want to help, there are certain things that you can do to improve the teenager’s self-esteem. Here are some of the tips:
- Cultivate Resilience: Teach your teen how to cope with failures and setbacks. Emphasize that mistakes are part of learning and growth, not a reflection of their self-worth.
- Foster Healthy Social Interactions: Encourage your teen to engage in social activities where they feel accepted, valued, and can build self-confidence.
- Set Realistic Goals: Assist your teen in setting achievable goals. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and emphasize the importance of effort over success.
- Create a Safe and Open Environment at Home: Ensure that the home is a place where your teen can express their feelings and thoughts without fear of judgment, criticism, or ridicule.
- Teach Critical Media Literacy: Help your teen understand that the images and stories in the media are often distorted or idealized and that their self-worth should not be tied to these unrealistic standards.
- Encourage Physical Activity: Promoting regular exercise for your teen can boost their mood and improve their self-image.
- Workbook: Improving self-esteem can be a private and personal journey for your teen to begin alone. The Teen Self-Esteem Workbook by Teen Thrive is a great place to start.
- Seek Professional Help If Needed: If low self-esteem is causing your teen significant distress or is linked to other mental health issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional help, such as with a therapist or counselor.